Comments urge individual students to be focus of accountability system designs
WASHINGTON – This week, PublicSchoolOptions.org (PSO) submitted five pages of official comments to the U.S. Department of Education’s notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM) regarding the Accountability and State Plans portion of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). PublicSchoolOptions.org strongly supported the passage of ESSA and its empowering states to determine accountability designs.
Public SchoolOptions.org supports student-centered accountability systems that focus on individual student progress and performance, rather than school-wide average performance. PSO will work in states across the country to ensure that parents are involved in the development of these systems, as intended in ESSA, and that states are designing and implementing more student-centered accountability systems that empower parents to determine the educational needs and options for their children.
However, some proposed provisions by the Department could jeopardize student-centered accountability designs that provide parents more information and guidance about their children’s education.
PublicSchoolOptions.org Comment Highlights:
- Single Summative Score: PSO requests that the new requirement that states create a single “summative score” for every school be removed from the final version of the rules.
- The NPRM required each state to create a single letter-type grade for each school. ESSA contains no such requirement, and the creation of a federal mandate system to do so puts too much emphasis on grading buildings as opposed to individual students.
- Graduation Rate Calculation: PSO supports the correction of the required calculation of the graduation rate.
- The NPRM required use of only the 4-year cohort graduate rate as a means to identify schools for comprehensive support and improvement if they fail, “to graduate one third or more of their students.” Under ESSA, States should be able to choose how to calculate graduation rates, because requiring only the 4-year cohort discourages schools from serving under-credited high school students.
- Timeline for Local Review and Implementation of ESSA: PSO supports the timeline intended in the law by its authors. The NPRM accelerates the timeline, which leaves inadequate time to engage all stakeholders – most critically parents. The NPRM contained a timeline that would require new accountability systems to be in place a year sooner than the ESSA anticipated. This would stifle innovation of accountability systems and the ability for parents to have real input.
- Partial Attendance Interpretation: PSO asks that the Department correct the interpretation and application of the partial attendance provisions in the NPRM. The NPRM inappropriately mandates a specific manner in which states calculate in their accountability systems students who attend less than a full year. The ESSA explicitly gave states flexibility in this area, and the regulations should not remove that flexibility.
To view the full comments click HERE.
STATEMENT FROM TILLIE ELVRUM, PUBLICSCHOOLOPTIONS.ORG PRESIDENT AND SCHOOL CHOICE ADVOCATE:
“We strongly supported the passage of ESSA because the bill fosters more student-centered accountability and shifts power back to the states, both critical to our children’s academic success. As the implementation process moves forward, we want to make sure that the original intent of the law is preserved; that students and parents are empowered with more student-centered accountability system designs to measure student progress and achievement; and that all public school options remain available to parents.”
PublicSchoolOptions.org is a national alliance of parents that supports and defends parents’ rights to access the best public school options for their children. The Coalition supports the creation of public school options, including charter schools, online schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies and other innovative education programs. Additionally, we advocate for equal access without restrictions to these public schools for all children.