Minnesota Department of Education seeking input on ESSA plan


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and changed many components of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The new law requires the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to develop a State Accountability Plan in a timely manner with meaningful consultation with stakeholders — including local education agencies.

School board members now have the opportunity and responsibility to help impact the design and implementation at the state and local level. The decisions made in the next nine months will impact our schools, teachers and students for years to come.

The MDE held an ESSA stakeholder discussion July 20 in Roseville. MDE distributed three documents that you should become familiar.

  • First, an “ESSA PowerPoint Presentation — July 20 Stakeholder Discussion” presented by MDE Commissioner Brenda Cassellius that outlines the new law, stakeholder engagement, and the process and timeline for the developing the new plan.
  • Second, an “ESSA in Minnesota Fact Sheet” that contains the contact information on how to provide input.
  • Third, an “ESSA Stakeholder Meeting Discussion Questions — July 20” sheet with three key questions the department wants feedback on.

We have attached the links to each of those documents (and others) below:

Also, the MDE will be hosting “Regional Town Hall Listening” meetings this fall on the road and we strongly encourage you to participate. These meetings are scheduled for (location TBD):

  • October 4: Central
  • October 5: Northwest
  • October 6: Northeast
  • October 13: Southwest
  • October 14: Southeast

In addition to the listening groups, MDE will form work groups to gather input on different topical areas of ESSA implementation. If you are interested in participating in an ESSA work group please send an email to mde.essa@state.mn.us with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your organization (if any)
  • Your email address and phone number
  • Your area of interest within ESSA

The July 20 meeting consisted mainly of breakout discussions and was attended by legislators, teachers, administrators, MSBA representatives and others.

The following three questions were used as discussion starters. The responses were authentic and valuable. Following are some of the most memorable responses from the breakout group MSBA attended:

Question No. 1: Given ESSA requirements, what else do you think needs to be reflected in a comprehensive accountability system? Some responses:

  • Measurement of growth toward a target.
  • Include a component for re-engaging those students who have left school.
  • Make this a Minnesota system, not a federal plan.
  • Needs to be an open and transparent system for identifying schools that need improvement. Do not require schools to apply and pick only some as is now with Celebration designation.
  • Align WIDA to ACCESS and correlate to MCAs.
  • Desire simplicity and efficiency.
  • Allow the framework to drive the system regardless of commissioner, governor or legislation.
  • Will World’s Best Workforce be adopted for our goals?
  • Value driven system.
  • AP and PSEO should be a part of the picture.

Question No. 2: What components are a part of a well-rounded, high-quality education that may not be included in an accountability system, but may still be reported to the public? Some responses:

  • After-school activities.
  • Social studies and arts are lacking and this contributes to equity gap.
  • Satisfaction of student and teacher survey.
  • Student engagement.
  • Community service.
  • Redesign testing schedule — test at the beginning of the year.
  • School climate.
  • Lifelong skills like physical education should be included.

Question No. 3: What thoughts do you have about ESSA that are important for Minnesota to consider and discuss with stakeholders during the state plan development process? Some responses:

  • System should not be punitive.
  • Emphasis on relationship.
  • Do not add more measurements — do not try to measure everything.
  • Whatever we measure should be a tool for teachers to use to guide teaching.
  • Parent engagement should be a part of an accountability system.
  • Expand student supports.
  • Funding should be tied or follow any expansion of accountability system.

Visit http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/SchSup/ESSA for more information.

About mnmsba

The Minnesota School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education, supports, promotes and strengthens the work of public school boards.
This entry was posted in Every Student Succeeds Act, Minnesota Department of Education and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s