A few months ago Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and shortly thereafter the bill was signed into law by the President. What does this mean for the students of Rugby? In a nutshell, federal control over our education system will be greatly diminished. This is a good thing. There will still be accountability, but not to the extent that we have become accustomed to. This new legislation is very exciting for educators. It replaces the unreachable provisions that were within No Child Left Behind. I believe ESSA provides flexibility while still holding schools accountable for their achievement levels.
ESSA requires that each state create an accountability plan. The accountability plan must include: rigorous standards, identification of schools in the bottom five percent, annual testing, separation of data by student subgroup, and intervention in schools with less than a 67% graduation rate. Over the next two years our state will begin the work of developing our own accountability plan. The initial ESSA draft will be delivered to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction in June. There will be 60 days provided for input and public comment. The final rules will be completed by October 2016 and then the real work will begin.
There are many laws and policies that will need to be changed and adjusted to fit the provisions within ESSA. I have faith that we will develop a system of accountability that fits North Dakota. ESSA provides an excellent opportunity to shape our educational system into something we can be proud of.