Today, Delaware Governor Markell signed an Executive Order which creates an Advisory n Committee for the Every Student Succeeds Act. As required by federal law, this group will convene to provide input (not make final decisions) on ESSA which was signed by President Obama last December. I am assuming this group will replace the DESS Advisory Committee which was required under the former federal education law, ESEA.
This group will have the usual slots: President of the State Board of Education, President of the Delaware State Education Association, and other education, business, and state associations. There are only two legislator slots, one from the Senate and one from the House. Usually, these kind of groups have representation of both parties in the House and the Senate. Only three teachers will be picked, and only four parents. On something this important, bigger is better. But lest we forget, these members will be picked by the Governor, so expect some controversy over those picks!
As well, there will be a series of “Community Conversations” coming up at the end of September. I pray this isn’t a one-sided show where select people are telling the audience what has to happen. It needs to be a true back and forth exchange to be a true conversation.
Below is Executive Order #62 and the press release from the Delaware DOE.
Markell Creates Group to Support Implementation of New Federal Education Law
Calling a new federal education law an opportunity for teachers, school leaders, parents, and others to build on record graduation rates and other progress happening in Delaware schools, Governor Jack Markell today signed Executive Order 62, which brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to provide input for the state plan required by the federal Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). The plan, which the U.S. Department of Education is expected to require by sometime next year, will detail efforts to:
· Implement academic standards aligned with what students need to know stay on track for success in college and the workplace;
· Ensure students from all backgrounds have access to high-quality educational opportunities from pre-school through high school;
· Support training, retention, and professional advancement of great educators; and
· Track progress of schools across a variety of measures, not limited to test scores, and identify ways to offer additional support where students are struggling.
The Governor, who signed E.O. 62 at Lewis Elementary School, noted that improvements from the last major federal education law, No Child Left Behind, mean that states have more flexibility in ways to support students, including how to measure schools’ progress and new opportunities to focus on early childhood education, which has been a top priority of the Markell Administration.
“We should all be proud of the progress we have made over the last few years, when we have seen thousands more low-income families enroll children in high-quality early childhood programs, recorded the fastest-growing graduation rate in the country, offered thousands more students the chance to earn workplace experience and college credit while in high school, and given more students access to college,” said Markell.
“ESSA provides an exciting chance for us to build on that momentum – to better support and attract great teachers and ensure all of our students have access to the education they deserve, no matter their backgrounds. More flexibility in how states approach these issues means more responsibility for us to make sound decisions and as we develop our state’s plan under ESSA. The executive order I sign today will help engage our teachers, school leaders, parents, and other advocates to ensure a successful process.”
The Executive Order outlines the variety of education leaders and advocates who must be represented on the committee and provides the group with the opportunity to review drafts of the state plan and submit recommendations to the Secretary of Education. A chair will be announced in advance of the first meeting and the group will include representatives of:
· Parents in every county
· Educators from urban and rural communities
· The State Board of Education
· The Delaware State Education Association
· The Delaware Association of School Administrators
· The Delaware School Board’s Association
· The Delaware Charter School Network
· The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission
· The Early Childhood Council
· Delaware English Language Teachers and Advocates
· An organization advocating for students with disabilities
· Delaware’s business community
· Workforce development programs
· The General Assembly
“After engaging in initial discussions with a wide variety of education stakeholders on development of our ESSA plan, this advisory committee represents an important next step in supporting our communication with teachers, administrators, and parents who are working hard to support our students,” said Delaware Education Secretary Steve Godowsky. “This group will help ensure we fully consider a wide range of perspectives and set our state on a path of continued improvement.”
The department also will engage representatives of stakeholder groups in two discussion groups. The first group will focus discussions on technical topics related to Measures of School Success and Reporting. The second group will focus discussions on provisions for Student and School Supports. Participants for these topical discussion groups can be nominated on the department’s ESSA web site through September 9, 2016. The discussion groups will provide information to the Advisory group created by this Executive Order.
To further support engagement of the broader education community, the Department of Education has announced a series of Community Conversations later this month during which teachers, administrators, and others will offer input on specific questions that the state must address in its plan. These discussions will take place at the following times and locations:
Tuesday September 20 at 6:00 p.m. – Cheer Center, Georgetown
Saturday September 24 at 10:00 a.m. – Christina Cultural Arts Center, Wilmington
Tuesday September 27 at 6:00 p.m. – Bunker Hill Elementary School, Middletown
Thursday September 29 at 5:30 p.m. – Collette Education Center, Dover