Future of ESSA uncertain, even after Delaware submits plan
Delaware submitted its Every Student Succeeds Act plan to the federal government this month, but how strongly it will be enforced it is unclear after Congress voted to overturn ESSA accountability regulations.
For education advocates like Delaware Teach for America Executive Director Laurisa Schutt – accountability is important, especially when it comes to decreasing the achievement gap.
“If we put it out there that we really mean this, it forces the system to find a way," Schutt said. “If we get to 2030, let’s say we still have 50 or 60 percent of our low-income kids reading and writing, doing math proficiency – are we going to be ok with 50% not?”
Schutt was glad that the state’s ESSA plan included accountability measures, such as benchmarks for providing additional support to schools with the highest levels of low-performing students.
But Congress’ move to roll back some of those accountability mandates leaves Schutt and others worried ESSA won’t make much of a difference in leveling the playing field for low performing kids here – even if the state’s plan is approved.
States are still required to have their accountability plans approved by federal Education Sec. Betsy DeVos’s team.
Delaware is currently one of 45 states operating on a waiver program issued by the Obama administration recusing the state from the previous No Child Left Behind mandates. Delaware submitted its No Child Left Behind plan in 2012 and revised it in 2014 and 2015.