Michigan has won approval from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for the state’s plan to comply with the federal law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Every state was required to submit a plan to comply with ESSA, which replaced the previous law known as No Child Left Behind. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) first submitted a plan in April which was returned for revision by the USED in July.
Michigan’s ESSA plan outlines new directions in assessment, accountability, supports for schools and students, and educator quality.
A number of teachers, including many MEA members are serving on a state advisory council that will be reviewing Michigan’s ESSA implementation over the next year.
Michigan’s plan includes the following new components, according to an MDE release issued this week:
- A Parent Transparency Dashboard is being developed to give parents a clearer understanding of where their child’s school is performing on things like student achievement, academic growth, attendance, and graduation.
- It has a well-rounded and whole child focus. Academics in the core subjects, as well as access to the arts, libraries, and physical education are key. Physical, social, and emotional health and support, with assistance from counselors, social workers, and health professionals also are included in the state’s commitment.
- It is supportive, and not punitive. Michigan’s accountability system no longer will be a top-down hammer for low-achieving schools. It will identify “Comprehensive Support Schools” and “Targeted Support Schools” and provide varying levels of support and assistance.
- It continues the Partnership Model that the state has instituted to help schools and districts most in need – developing locally-driven solutions and measures of success, with the help of other state, local, and regional partners.
- Every school will be conducting a Comprehensive Needs Assessment to study their resources and data, to find their school’s needs and gaps, and develop a School Improvement Plan, based on the results of that process.
There will be greater focus on developing the best educators; providing targeted professional development for teachers; honoring and lifting up Michigan educators; creating a stronger teacher preparation and development system with Michigan colleges and universities and other partners.