BATs Recommendations to USDOE on ESSA Accountability Regulations
The Every Student Succeeds Act was written with the intent to recognize that the Federal Government has had a recent history of overstepping their authority in regard to the oversight of public education. The spirit and intent of ESSA is to return control of education BACK to the states because they know what is best for the children in their care.
It is the job of the USDOE and Sec. John King to implement and write regulations that meet the spirit of the law. As we suspected, Sec. King is doing just the opposite with some of the regulations. The USDOE is taking public recommendations on the regulations they plan to write according to ESSA. We have done the best we can, as public school teachers, to go through these regulations and advise what WE should recommend.
YOU NEED TO SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS TODAY (They are due August 1). Go to this website https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=ED-2016-OESE-0032-0001 You can copy and paste our suggestions below on a word document (the box only allows 5000 characters so use an upload document). After you are done attaching your document, fill out your info, press continue, and submit. We will guarantee you that all the corporate reform organizations have submitted their comments that seek to dismantle public education and deprofessionalize the teaching profession.
After you submit your comments to the USDOE you can also submit comments to NEA about how they should frame their response to the Department of Education. http://www.nea.org/essabegins
Here are the USDOE regulations recommendations if you would like to read them
We also invite you to use the recommendations of NPE here http://networkforpubliceducation.org/2016/06/6576/
Our HUGE concerns are: Punishing districts that have HIGH opt out rates, making sure that teachers/states understand CLEARLY that test scores DO NOT have to be used for rating teachers, massive over-identification of schools by the USDOE, the USDOE is rushing this and needs to slow down, and the USDOE is not holding to the spirit of ESSA which is to return education BACK to the states.
HERE ARE OUR RECOMMENDATIONS YOU CAN COPY AND PASTE ONTO A WORD DOCUMENT. If you see anything we missed or did not clarify ADD IT TO YOUR DOCUMENT! Save the document and upload for submission. Once again go here to submit your recommendations https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=ED-2016-OESE-0032-0001
RECOMMENDATIONS ARE DUE AUGUST 1ST!!!
Elimination of § 200.7. We feel this will take away the ability of the states to individually identify the subgroup size for identified students. The removal of such ability neglects the fact that our state's deal with different populations of students and a norm subgroup size should not be arbitrarily assigned for all states.
Recommendation: Do not eliminate § 200.7. States deal with different populations of students and the federal government should not arbitrarily assign one for all states.
These proposed changes deny the responsibility that a school has towards responding to the needs of all students in areas other than academic achievement.
Recommendation: This regulation needs to be amended. Regulatory language needs to include language that incorporates all subject areas.
The proposed interim progress requirements for all subgroups of students indicate a reporting of progress in the academic areas of mathematics and language arts. This language needs to be removed and other areas of academic learning need to be included in reporting. Emphasis on only two academic areas will create a system in which it no longer becomes feasible for all students to have access to all learning, especially the arts and music. The result of such a narrowing of focus will not assist schools with the well-rounded development of children. Proposed recommendations also include the provision that identified subgroups are expected to show growth improvement at a greater percentage relative to all students over that time frame. This narrative negates the fact that education is not a cure for a disability or that all students progress at individual learning rates.
Recommendation: This recommendation should be amended. Reporting systems for academic areas that incorporate subject areas other than just language arts and math should be included. Growth percentage rates for identified subgroups should not have the expectation of being higher than any other subgroup.
GOALS FOR PROGRESS IN ACHIEVING ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY
Recommendation: This recommendation should be amended. Timelines for goals for English Language Learners need to be extended to accommodate the validated length of time necessary for mastery of a language, seven years at a minimum and up to ten years at maximum.
GOALS FOR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND GRADUATION RATES
Proposed recommendations speak about reporting of students performance at grade level indicators. We maintain that all children learn at different rates and a better indicator should be inserted instead of grade-level. The individual growth rate of a student is a better measure and helps schools identify what areas need to be addressed with a holistic whole-child approach. Additionally the use of graduation rates as a cut-off limits the responsibility that a school needs to develop towards implementing programs that work towards a student’s ability to remain in college or career training beyond the first year.
Recommendation: This recommendation should be amended. The use of grade-level indicators should be substituted with growth indicators that remain consistent at an individual level to accommodate learning needs. A recommendation for states to implement programs that build a student’s ability to remain in a college or career training program should be made for states.
SCHOOL QUALITY OR STUDENT SUCCESS INDICATORS
The proposed regulatory changes lack mention of holding schools accountable for providing access to programs that address additional needs of students, access to creative arts programs, music, and World Language programs. The proposed amendment mandates a specific number of indicators that must be measured, once again overstepping the authority of the federal government.
Recommendation: This regulation needs to be amended. The USDOE needs to include language that will hold states accountable for including accountability language that will hold schools accountable for providing access to services to improve whole child development.
States should not be held accountable to the 95% participation rate as directed by proposal Parents have the right to refuse the test for their children, as directed by the 14th amendment. To punish schools that do not meet this participation rate is to deny the rights of parents as well as falsely hold accountable schools that have no right to dictate these choices. Furthermore, language that emphasizes the push for improved academic achievement neglects the responsibilities that schools have to facilitate and coordinate services that will work towards meeting the needs of students and families in other areas. Once again, this will strengthen the current test and punishment system that governs our schools today. The system that the intent of ESSA sought to condone.The statutory requirement that outlines the provision that public charter schools will be governed under state charter school law upholds the segregation that is occurring with our charter school systems and does nothing to call for the equality in transparency and accountability that is necessary to ensure that charter schools become responsible for educating all students.
Recommendation: The USDOE allows states to determine their own system for informing parents of their right to refuse the test for their children and how those students will be provided with alternative educational opportunities. This regulations should be deleted.
Proposed regulatory changes overemphasize the use of academic measures that will again force schools to allocate resources to subject areas that are measured by the testing accountability system.
Recommendation: This recommendation needs to be amended to include all subject areas; including the arts.
The proposal to standardize criteria for children with disabilities, English Language Learners, Homeless children, and children within foster care. These subgroups of students all deal with individual circumstances that prevails over the application of any standardization. To ignore that fact negates the intent of IDEA as well as denies research that shows how trauma can impact learning.
Recommendation: This recommendation needs to be amended so that it recognizes the individual nature of children, their circumstances, and respects the intent of IDEA