ESSA: NCLB Lite (Plus Lots for Charters)

I've been saving up articles on ESSA (Every Child Succeeds Act, the next No Child Left Behind).   Congress may have given more power back to the states but there appear to be some truly troubling issues around increased data collection, opting out, and what "indicators" they will be collecting on each and every child.
From the wonderful Deutsch29 blog from Mercedes Schneider:
  • ESSA requires the 95 percent of testing for the states even as it says, “Don’t pin your state opt-out policies on us for our federal policy. 
  • My second concern involve data collection and especially security. Pages 79 and 80 state that no data is to be collected except that which is “explicitly authorized under this Act.” However, as the February 02, 2016, Congressional Oversight Committee Hearing of US Department of Education (USDOE) Chief Information Officer (CIO) Danny Harris demonstrated, not only was the federal government able to hack into the USDOE data system; acting US secretary John King bent over backwards in defending Harris’ questionable conflicts of interest and shoddy upkeep over the course of years with securing said data.  USDOE has failed for years to secure the data it has, which includes to date 139 million unique social security numbers.
  • As was true for NCLB, ESSA is very friendly to charters. In Title IV, ESSA seeks to open and expand “high-quality” charter schools (page 194). The problem is the USDOE’s history of failing to properly account for its own spending on charter schools. Indeed, in November 2015, USDOE awarded a recommended $71 million to Ohio for its charter schools despite the fact that Ohio admitted to tampering with the numbers on the USDOE application.
She sums up:  I would like ESSA a whole lot better if USDOE would flip the intensity of its 95-percent testing grip in Title I with its nonchalance both about charter spending related to Title IV and keeping the likes of incompetent CIO Danny Harris in annual bonuses.
This from Education Post (a Gates-funded group):
A little-noticed provision in the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) allows states to set aside funding to help schools create new programs for underserved students and to expand choices for students and parents.

The provision allows states to use up to 3 percent of their federal Title I funding to help districts create innovative new programs for underserved students. States opting into this program for what’s known as Direct Student Services (DSS) can develop a grant process to award the funds.

That 3 percent means as much as $425 million can be available annually for school districts to develop new, innovative ways to provide students in struggling schools a range of additional academic opportunities not available right now.
From EdScoopHow Schools Can Track Kids' Progress Under ESSA Using Data:
The Data Quality Campaign wants to make the Every Student Succeeds Act more transparent.
“ESSA really is a data bill,” said Rachel Anderson, senior associate of policy and advocacy for the Data Quality Campaign. (editor's note; DQC is another Gates-funded group, so of course, they love this)

ESSA now requires that states disaggregate data and cross-tab information so that viewers can understand the more nuanced populations that schools are serving, Anderson said. 

States are now required to engage parents in the development of their report cards. ESSA also requires that states include additional information that will be useful to the community, including data on extracurricular activities. 
Education Next had a thought on ESSA; instead of just focusing on "failure," also focus on excellence.
First, as states develop their new accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act, he or she could encourage them to focus as much on recognition of their high-performing schools as they do on punishments of their worst. Ohio’s Momentum Awards (for schools showing super-fast student-level growth) and All-A Awards (for schools earning straight As on their report cards) are great examples.

The next president could also encourage states to pay more attention to students who are doing work not just at grade level, but above it. A new analysis from Fordham found that most state accountability systems maintain one of No Child Left Behind’s fatal flaws—a primary focus on getting students to the “proficient” level of achievement. This encourages schools to ignore their high flyers. This is particularly problematic for low-income, high-achieving students, who tend to lack access to “gifted and talented” programs and similar initiatives. The next president should make it clear that our advanced students deserve our attention too, and states should send clear signals that they matter by holding schools accountable for their progress.
From the Busted-Ed Pencils blog, what's embedded in ESSA:
 First, take a look at ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act). ESSA demands an additional indicator of student school or success – more or less, an indicator tied to emotion.

With daily online curriculum, daily online testing, which targets a child’s emotions and behaviors, well folks, it’s the ESSA opportunity that just keeps giving. Data point after data point – now moving from academic skills to the child’s feelings and consequential behaviors – all allowing the corporations to get more information on each child in order to shape, form, and direct the child’s future.  When a child’s emotional response and/or behavior does not match the needs of the market and/or the system, they can use science to alter a child’s brain, consequentially shifting the emotional response and behavior – always being sure to reward the child for complying.


Anonymous said…
OSPI was awarded $4,102,455 today from the US Dept of Education to run its own grant competition for charter school operators to expand or create new charter schools in the state.

Bill G.

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