Every Student Succeeds Act

On the NPR Ed Team, I am what you might call the grizzled veteran. I've seen education trends come and go and come again. And go again.

You get the idea.

In years past, around December, my teammates would often pause by my desk and ask: "What do you think we'll be covering next year?"

I've always found this a fun thought exercise, and, at some point, my editor suggested I jot down my answers and share them beyond our cubicles. And so, here are a few predictions for 2018.

How do you judge how good a school is? Test scores? Culture? Attendance?

In the new federal education law (the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA) states are asked to use five measures of student success. The first four are related to academics — like annual tests and graduation rates. The fourth measures proficiency of English language learners.

The fifth is the wild card — aimed at measuring "student success or school quality" — and the law leaves it to states to decide.

Oklahoma State Department of Education

Many people say the former massive federal education law, No Child Left Behind, was a failure. When President George W. Bush signed it in 2002, he set a huge goal for the country: Every child would meet the proficiency standard on state tests by 2014.

But, that never happened.

ok.gov/sde/superintendent

Under a new federal education law, all states are required to come up with plans for keeping their schools accountable. However, last week, U.S. Senators voted to roll back some of the rules within that law.

Now, the U.S. Department of Education will no longer tell states how to judge school quality, or how to identify low achieving schools, among other things.

The way School A-F Report Cards are calculated may soon change. 

The state Board of Education approved a new grading system on Thursday, and it will now go before the legislature for final approval.

The new system, set to go in to effect for the 2017-2018 school year, proposes using a single letter grade with no pluses or minuses. However, the overall report card will be presented like a dashboard, with seven different criteria adding up to one score.

twitter.com/oksde

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is asking Oklahomans for input as she creates a strategic education plan for Oklahoma schools.

The new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, ultimately rolls back the federal government’s footprint in state education policy. However, the law requires each state to submit a plan for academic goals and school accountability in order to receive federal funding.

Flickr / albertogp123

UPDATE (5/25): The Senate passed  HB3218 on Wednesday. It now awaits the governor's signature.

Lawmakers are considering a measure that would significantly reduce school testing.

On Monday, the House passed a bill that eliminates all tests that are not federally mandated. That includes five tests in the lower grades, and the seven end of instruction exams high schoolers take to graduate.

Eric Westervelt of the NPR Ed team is guest-hosting for the next few weeks on Here & Now, the midday news program from NPR and WBUR.

Now that President Obama has signed the new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, a big question for many educators is: Will the changes help the populations most in need of better schools: students of color, students with disabilities and low-income students?

President Obama called it "a Christmas miracle. A bipartisan bill signing right here."

The "right here" was the South Court Auditorium, part of the White House complex. More importantly, the bipartisan bill being signed was the Every Student Succeeds Act — a long-overdue replacement of the unpopular federal education law known as No Child Left Behind.

ok.gov/sde/superintendent

Education officials around the state are praising Congress for approving the Every Student Succeeds Act. State officials believe this new education law will correct many of the weaknesses in the No Child Left Behind Act.

Pages