A+ on Colorado’s Implementation Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

A+ Colorado provided feedback on Colorado’s Draft Plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, which the state expects to submit to the federal Department of Education on April 3rd. This plan outlines how Colorado expects to meet the legislative requirements of ESSA (in spite of Congress rolling back some critical regulations, and an administration that might have a different vision for the Department than the Bush and Obama-era administrations). A+ is also one of 24 signatories to a letter from the Equity in Colorado Coalition providing additional feedback. Our biggest concerns with the current Plan? That, as a state, we are moving away from holding schools and districts accountable for helping student reach academic expectations (the Plan proposes shifting to an almost entirely normative accountability system), and that we are creating a system that is significantly less transparent (plans for collecting and releasing data are notably absent; the Plan goes above and beyond federal requirements and cements a practice that needs much more thought, stakeholder involvement, and iteration before implementation), and that, ultimately, the state is making it significantly more difficult to understand how schools and districts are serving different groups of students, and where there are lessons to be learned and shared.

Read the Equity in Colorado Coalition’s letter here.

Read a response from the Colorado Department of Education to the Coalition here.

Read the Colorado Department of Education’s response to A+’s feedback here.