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Daily Dish: ESSA Updates: Negotiated Rulemaking, New Report on Opportunities for Personalized Learning

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March 22, 2016 03:24 pm

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Today marks the second day of the negotiated rulemaking process for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), where a committee of educators, parents, civil rights activists, paraprofessionals, business leaders, and others are meeting at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to determine the regulations for the new education law. This week the committee is hashing out regulations in two areas: assessments and supplement-not-supplant (how states and districts spend their own funds in relation to federal money). Learn more about the background on regulations and the negotiators here.

During the first day, supplement-not-supplant dominated most of the discussion, reports Education Week. Negotiators discussed items like “what kind of enforcement action states should take in districts that don’t comply,” with one committee member expressing that “it would be a mistake for states to withhold funds from districts that don’t comply with the law because that would only be punishing children.” Ed Week also notes that ED posed many questions to spur discussion, and it is the role of ED to turn the conversations into written regulations to be approved by the committee. The next two days of negotiations will focus on assessments.

Politico’s Morning Education notes that these areas of discussion, assessments and supplement-not-supplant, are not the largest areas within the law to tackle, calling the accountability portion the “Super Bowl of ESSA implementation.” In advance of this regulation process, ED provided materials, including draft regulatory language, which can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/index.html.

When addressing the committee yesterday to kick off the process, U.S. Secretary of Education John King reiterated once again his belief that ESSA is a civil rights law. He said, “Our North Star has to be equity,” reports Ed Week. A new report was released by KnowledgeWorks, on recommendations for advancing personalized learning under ESSA, with a focus on equity.  The report is intended to serve as a guide to help states and districts transform learning under the new law, encouraging the building of high-quality education systems that emphasize college and career readiness, continuous improvement, and equity, the announcement says.

KnowledgeWorks President and CEO Judy Peppler discussed the importance of personalized learning in furthering an agenda with equity at the center, saying: “While the opportunities throughout ESSA have incredible potential to help students throughout the country, we must consider equity from the beginning. If we don’t, there’s a risk of increased achievement gaps for traditionally underserved students. Personalized learning can help close achievement gaps by identifying individual student needs and customizing instruction to ensure every student succeeds. Equity is foundational to the success of this approach.”

The guide hones in on five key areas within the law that provide opportunities to emphasize personalized learning, including accountability, school improvement, assessment, educator workforce, and extended learning opportunities. It also includes a resource that compares ESSA and its predecessor, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), “through a personalized learning lens.” Check it out: http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/ESSA-Opportunities-Advance-Personalized-Learning.pdf.

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