State Board approves revised ESSA plan

The State Board of Education has approved a revised education plan aimed at  compliance with a federal law.

Following the U.S. Department of Education’s December requests for clarity and more information, State Board and State Department of Education representatives revised portions of Idaho’s Every Student Succeeds Act compliance plan.

During a meeting at Boise State University Thursday, the State Board unanimously approved these revisions and a plan to resubmit the plan to the feds.

Key changes reflect a handful of components the feds flagged late last year:

  • The sample reporting size, or “n-size,” used to identify lowest performing schools for support and interventions is now 20 students for all indicators.  Idaho had planned to use an “n-size” of 20 students for all students and an “n-size” of 10 students for student subgroups, violating ESSA requirements. “N-size” was a topic of discussion among education groups last summer.
  • Both ISAT proficiency and growth will be used as academic achievement indicators. Idaho’s original plan gave K-8 school leaders flexibility to pick whether to use proficiency or growth as an indicator, but the feds said the state’s description of how it will measure growth is inconsistent.
Click here and scroll to page 6 to begin viewing changes to the original consolidated plan. Scroll to page 131 for a complete list of requested changes from the feds.

Little discussion preceded the vote, though State Board member Don Soltman questioned SDE assessment and accountability director Karlynn Laraway about the feds’ likelihood of accepting the plan’s proficiency and growth revisions. These updates aligned with a “trajectory models of many other state plans that have already been approved,” Laraway said.

Passed in December 2015, ESSA is a federal education law that replaced No Child Left Behind and shifts authority away from the federal government and toward the states and school districts.

Idaho’s ESSA compliance plan is important because it outlines Idaho’s goals for education, creates an accountability system, describes how local education leaders will implement nine federal programs and represents Idaho’s application for some $83 million in annual federal funding.

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A U.S. Department of Education representative had requested a revised plan by Jan. 12, but SDE officials said they needed more time to make changes and received a Feb. 16 extension. SDE spokeswoman Kristin Rodine said the revised plan will be signed and submitted electronically and that the feds have 120 days to accept it or request further changes or information from the state.

State Board president Linda Clark praised the effort of SDE and State Board staffers who revised the plan.

“Thanks to everyone. It really took a village to do this,” said Clark.

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