Despite recent action by Congress to remove Obama-era regulations, states are in the final stages of developing school accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act, says Anne Hyslop, a former US Education Department official who helped write the law. In their plans, many states are considering judging schools and districts by a number of new metrics, including chronic absenteeism, Hyslop notes.
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US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos this week told members of the National Association of State Boards of Education that it's time for Washington "to get out of the way" of state education leaders. In her speech, DeVos emphasized school choice and said she expected that revised Every Student Succeeds Act applications would allow states to take varied approaches to education.
A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that school districts must do more than the minimum for students with special needs. The court ruled in favor of the parents of a Colorado student with autism who said their district failed to meet the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law mandating a "free and appropriate public education" for students with disabilities.
Academic growth of students will be given more weight than academic proficiency in school accountability under a plan approved last week by the Illinois State Board of Education. The change is part of plans being drafted by the state under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
The quality of food served in schools may affect student achievement, according to a study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley. The researchers examined the nutritional content of school lunches in California public schools over a five-year period.
Sitting for long periods of time in the classroom may be restricting students' movement and play, and this could have harmful effects, asserts Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist. In this blog post, she writes that "[c]hildren need to move much more than we realize."
New State Board Insight database tracks board actions on ESSA
This week NASBE released its anticipated State Board Insight database, a platform for tracking trends in state boards' agendas and actions each month. With timely analysis, detailed data, and spotlights on state strategies, State Board Insight is a resource for board members, researchers, journalists, and educators. "State Board Insight came about to meet an increasing demand to track and support state policy leadership and innovation," says Kristen Amundson, NASBE's president/CEO. "As greater authority devolves to the states under ESSA, this tool will help state boards members identify boards tackling similar issues to build partnerships for collaboration and learn from best-practice examples."
7 questions state boards should ask before state plans for ESSA are submitted
In April and September, states will file comprehensive plans for how they will spend federal funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Although state education agencies have the primary responsibility for developing and filing the state plan, many state boards of education have statutory authority for carrying out elements of the plan, and most will take a formal vote on their plans before they are sent to the US Department of Education. A new NASBE Policy Update lays out seven big questions board members should have answered before they vote.