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Alignment of CCSSO's Accountability Principles and USED's ESEA Flexibility Package: Supporting State Leadership through NCLB Waivers Council of Chief State.

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Presentation on theme: "Alignment of CCSSO's Accountability Principles and USED's ESEA Flexibility Package: Supporting State Leadership through NCLB Waivers Council of Chief State."— Presentation transcript:

1 Alignment of CCSSO's Accountability Principles and USED's ESEA Flexibility Package: Supporting State Leadership through NCLB Waivers Council of Chief State School Officers Next-Generation Accountability Systems and Waiver Strategy Meeting September 29, 2011 Gene Wilhoit, CCSSO Scott Palmer, EducationCounsel

2 Purpose 2 This session will provide an analysis of the new ESEA Flexibility to inform continued state leadership to advance college and career ready accountability systems that can help dramatically improve student achievement and close achievement gaps.  Ground us in the opportunity for state innovation and leadership through an "ESEA Flexibility" strategy  Provide an analysis of the elements of the recently released ESEA Flexibility package from the U.S. Department of Education  Discuss ESEA Flexibility requirements in the context of CCSSO's accountability principles  Describe potential state timelines and processes for leading and leveraging this ESEA Flexibility  Discuss the peer review process  Group discussion

3 ESEA Flexibility Is About STATE Leadership 3 This federal ESEA Flexibility is really anchored in STATE leadership and presents a vital shift in the role of federal law from compliance to innovation. Over the last several years, states have taken the lead on college and career ready policy reforms, including standards, assessments, accountability, etc. CCSSO released state principles on CCR accountability, which 45 states have adopted, and called on Congress/USED to reauthorize ESEA or invite NCLB waivers, accordingly. On September 23, President Obama announced that USED is formally inviting states (on a voluntary basis) to apply for "ESEA flexibility" (under NCLB 9401 waiver authority) in exchange for state leadership on several college and career ready reforms, including new accountability systems. The federal guidance expressly recognized that it is building on state policy leadership. This focus on state leadership provides the basis for a new state-federal partnership ("tight-loose") with a focus on state innovation as opposed to fidelity/compliance with federal law. Many states are already moving on the college and career-ready reforms outlined in the Secretary’s ESEA Flexibility package. There are problems with the USED Flexibility guidance, but this is an opportunity for continued state leadership.

4 States Must Take Comprehensive Action 4 This new ESEA Flexibility requires states to comprehensively address four major reform areas consistent with federal principles. To receive a waiver, states must:  Adopt and implement college and career-ready standards and aligned assessments of knowledge and skills ( through Common Core/assessment consortia or aligned with state institutions of higher education)  Design and implement a rigorous statewide accountability system (based largely on principles articulated by CCSSO)  Design, pilot, and implement, over a number of years, a system of teacher and leader evaluation based on student achievement  Evaluate and adjust as necessary state-level administrative and reporting requirements to reduce burden on districts and schools

5 ESEA Flexibility Package Includes Several Elements 5 State proposals for ESEA Flexibility must provide commitments, plans, rationale, evidence, etc. on several issues in each area. 1. College and Career-Ready Standards and Assessments for All Students A.Adopt college and career-ready standards (in at least reading/language arts and math) B.Transition to college and career-ready standards C.Develop and administer annual, statewide, aligned assessments that measure student growth in knowledge and skills 2. State-Developed, Differentiated Systems of Recognition, Accountability, and Support A.Develop and implement a state-based system of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support B.Set ambitious but achievable annual measurable objectives C.Identify Reward Schools (highest-performing) D.Identify Priority Schools (lowest-performing), including new turnaround principles E.Identify Focus Schools (achievement gaps/lowest-performing subgroups) F.Provide incentives and supports for other Title I schools 3. Supporting Effective Instruction and Leadership through Educator Evaluation A.Develop and adopt guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems B.Ensure LEAs implement evaluation and support systems 4. Reducing Duplication and Unnecessary Burden

6 State Plans May Waive Several Key NCLB Provisions 6 In exchange for this state leadership and innovation, states are able to receive flexibility through waivers of ten (or more) NCLB areas. Key waiver areas include: 1.Remove AYP and 2014 timeline for achieving 100% proficiency (section 111(b)(2)(E)); 2.Remove school and district improvement requirements (section 1116(b) and (c)), including SES, choice, corrective action, restructuring, etc.; and 3.Remove improvement plan requirements and Title I and Title II fund restrictions for districts that miss HQT requirements (section 1111(b)(8)(C)). 4.States also have the option of incorporating other waiver requests, expressly including flexibility on use of 21 st Century Learning Communities funds to support ELT as well as afterschool.

7 CCSSO Accountability Principles 7 Through CCSSO's accountability principles and Roadmap, the states have laid out a comprehensive vision for state leadership on college and career ready accountability systems. These principles should form the basis for state innovation and NCLB waiver proposals. 1.Performance goals aligned with college and career readiness in terms of knowledge and application of knowledge 2.Annual accountability determinations 3.Multiple measures of student outcomes, including growth and status 4.Continued commitment to disaggregation 5.Reporting of timely, actionable, accessible data 6.Deeper diagnostic review and analysis 7.Strengthen capacity of schools and districts 8.Focus on lowest performing schools and achievement gaps 9.Promote innovation, evaluation, and continuous improvement With some discrete exceptions that may require further discussion and action, states that lead in building accountability systems consistent with these principles will also meet USED ESEA Flexibility requirements.

8 Unpacking ESEA Flexibility on Accountability and Consequences 8 To receive NCLB waivers, states must design and implement college and career ready accountability, with several broad requirements and many further opportunities for state leadership. Accountability  States must establish multiple measures for accountability aligned to college and career ready performance. These measures must include accurate graduation rates (for high schools) and high-quality assessments in at least reading/language arts and math (with other subjects optional). The reading /language arts and math assessments must be able to measure student growth. Each of these measures must be reported for all subgroups.  States must also design the metrics for combining and weighing the multiple measures to result in annual accountability determinations based on school performance and progress over time, including status and growth, subgroup performance, and conjunctive or compensatory models. To this end, states must set ambitious but achievable AMOs in at least reading and math (which can be based on 100% proficiency by 2020, closing the achievement gaps by half within six years, or another equally ambitious state plan).  Note: States must also establish ELP standards aligned to college and career ready standards and commit to administer aligned ELP assessments.

9 Unpacking ESEA Flexibility on Accountability and Consequences 9 To receive NCLB waivers, states must design and implement college and career ready accountability, with several broad requirements and many further opportunities for state leadership. Identification, Supports, and Interventions  States must annually identify and recognize Title I schools making the most progress or having the highest performance as “reward schools.”  States must identify the lowest-performing 5% of Title I schools as “priority schools” and ensure that districts implement significant interventions aligned with turnaround principles (for three years). This allows states to redefine turnaround, with the four models as safe harbors.  States must identify the 10% of Title I schools with the largest achievement gaps, lowest-performing subgroups, or lowest graduation rates as “focus” schools and ensure that districts implement meaningful interventions based on reviews of the specific academic needs of each school and its students.  States must provide incentives and support to ensure continuous improvement in other Title I schools that are not making progress in improving student achievement and narrowing achievement gaps.  States must build state, district, and school capacity to improve student learning in all schools, and particularly in priority and focus schools.

10 Crosswalking CCSSO's Principles and USED's ESEA Flexibility 10 There is great synergy between CCSSO's principles and USED's ESEA Flexibility package, but there are also some points of ambiguity and potential difference. USED's waiver strategy should NOT be a limit to state innovation and bold proposals.  The CCSSO principles and Roadmap were established by states for states, and provide a framework for bold state action, including on ESEA Flexibility.  There are some ambiguities/issues with the ESEA Flexibility package. For example: It is possible to read the USED guidance as limiting identification of priority and focus schools to only state assessments and graduation rates. It seems like identification of priority and focus schools would in effect happen not annually, but on a multi-year basis (such as every three years). It is unclear whether SIG schools/funds can implement the new "turnaround principles." We need to catalog these issues and determine where to shift, seek clarification, or push back, perhaps through concrete state models.  There are several places where the CCSSO principles and Roadmap encourage more coherent state action, such as state consideration of K-3 measures and/or college completion measures (to drive greater integration), incorporation of deeper diagnostic reviews and analysis to best target supports and interventions, and incorporation of meaningful evaluation to support review and continuous improvement in state policies.

11 Timelines for ESEA Flexibility Proposals 11 States can apply for ESEA Flexibility on a rolling basis, with transition flexibility available. States should carefully consider when to apply based on needs and readiness.  For states to receive flexibility by the end of the school year, they must submit a flexibility request during one of the first two application windows.  First Deadline: November 14, 2011 with a December 2011 peer review  Second Deadline: Mid-February 2012 with a spring 2012 peer review  There will be additional opportunities to apply for approval after the school year. States that need additional time to plan for flexibility implementation can request to freeze their AMOs in exchange for taking preliminary steps towards meeting the required principles, including adopting college and career-ready standards; linking teacher, principal, and student data and providing that information to educators; and identifying persistent achievement gaps.  Waivers will be granted through the end of the school year with the option to request an extension. There is an extensive table on timelines in the ESEA flexibility package, which we believe is based on early applications (for ). Those timelines would adjust for applications that come in on a later timeline.

12 Peer Review Process 12 A revised peer review process will be used to review waiver requests. Peers will give advice to the Secretary to inform his judgment. The Department will use both external peer reviewers and staff reviewers. As required by section 9401 of NCLB, reviewers will evaluate the extent to which requests support a comprehensive and coherent improvement in standards, assessments, and accountability, and teacher and principal effectiveness to lead to improved instruction and student achievement. States will have the opportunity to clarify plans and answer questions as needed. Reviewers will provide comments for the Secretary's consideration; the Secretary will make final decisions regarding each state's request for flexibility. If a state's initial request is denied, they will receive feedback on what components of the request need additional development in order to receive approval. Additional peer review guidance from the USED was released last night, but did not add much information. USED is working to identify peers.

13 What About ESEA Reauthorization? 13 ESEA discussions continue to move forward, with CCSSO and chiefs directly engaged. Ironically, just as NCLB waivers are announced there is new life in ESEA reauthorization. The Senate is expected to drop and mark up an ESEA reauthorization bill this month, hopefully on a bipartisan basis. The House continues its hearing and drafting of a bill for this year. While final passage remains unlikely, it is possible. Based on our best knowledge, we are all moving in the same direction on ESEA reauthorization and ESEA flexibility – with a focus on state innovation toward college and career readiness. It is our judgment that states should continue to lead in this regard, and states that do so will be at a comparative advantage, not a disadvantage.

14 What Should States Do Next? 14 The first step for each state is to consider exactly how this ESEA flexibility fits in your state's context, and to determine your interest, readiness, timeline, and needs. This ESEA Flexibility opportunity is premised on state leadership toward college and career ready standards, assessments, accountability, and educator evaluation. This is a bold and comprehensive agenda that requires real work, in terms of policy ideas, technical considerations, data runs, stakeholder engagement, etc. NCLB 9401 and the ESEA Flexibility guidance requires evidence of stakeholder involvement. The Secretary's letter requests that each state report by October 12, 2011, whether and when your state expects to submit an NCLB waiver request. Each state should determine now how the ESEA Flexibility package fits your state's reform context in terms of (1) interest, (2) readiness, (3) timeline, (4) process, etc. This likely requires balancing interests in early leadership and immediate relief with the need to be deliberate and thoughtful in generating bold plans. There are issues with the USED waiver guidance, in substance and tone. This needs to be viewed first and foremost as an opportunity for state leadership, innovation, and continuous improvement toward college and career readiness for all students.

15 Discussion Questions 15 Are there questions or concerns about the ESEA Flexibility package? Can we catalog those issues to determine a strategy for clarification, pushback, etc.? How do the four areas for comprehensive waivers fit with your state's reform context? What is your vision of the future of education in your state, and what will it take in state policy to help advance college and career readiness for all students, including through new, innovative, integrated models of school accountability and educator evaluation? Where do you need to focus attention in terms of your state's policy development and what kind of process do you need for policy development, stakeholder engagement, etc.? When, if at all, do you plan to likely submit an NCLB waiver request? What supports do you need, individually and collectively, to capitalize on this opportunity and lead this effort toward college and career ready reforms and a new state-federal partnership focused on state innovation?

16 For more information contact: Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director, CCSSO, Chris Minnich, Senior Members Director, Kirsten Taylor, Senior Program Associate, Scott Palmer, Managing Partner, EducationCounsel,


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