National Alliance Provides Comments on ESSA Implementation

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On January 11, National Alliance Senior Policy Advisor Christy Wolfe joined a group of other education experts in providing the U.S. Department of Education (ED) with advice on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

To start her comments, Wolfe noted that under ESSA charter public schools are treated as either an independent LEA or part of the district LEA, which can make regulations and guidance complicated and have varying degrees of appropriateness when applied to charter schools (e.g. Title I allocations and reporting requirements, to name a few examples). She also stated that the National Alliance supports conducting a negotiated rulemaking process on standards, assessments, and supplement not supplant provisions, which would help to build consensus and clarity in understanding what is permitted under ESSA.

Other topics in Wolfe’s comments included:

  • Standards and Assessments. Robust assessments measuring student mastery of reading, math and science content are critical to school accountability and a critical component of measuring the success of charter schools.
  • Accountability. The National Alliance supported the accountability provisions in ESSA that require states to set goals for all groups of students, but there needs to be additional clarity in how to implement measures of school quality and student success.
  • Alternative Schools. There is flexibility for states and charter school authorizers to develop meaningful accountability for schools that primarily serve students who have dropped out of traditional high schools.
  • Consultation Requirements. The National Alliance strongly supports the ESSA requirements that charter school leaders be included in the state and local planning processes under Title I, as well as the state committee of practitioners.
  • School Improvement. We would like any accountability regulations or guidance to clearly delineate restarting schools as charter schools as a permissible use of funds.

The National Alliance appreciated the opportunity to provide comments to ED, and will be submitting detailed written comments as well. Please click here to get more information about how the National Alliance is representing charter public schools at the federal level.

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