What is ESSA?
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law in December 2015, replacing its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. ESSA is focused on preparing all students to succeed in college, careers, and civic life. It provides a framework for every student to receive a well-rounded education no matter who they are, where they live, where they come from, or where they go to school.
While passed in 2015, there is a timeline for full implementation of ESSA. Part of the process included soliciting input and feedback from NYS students, parents, teachers, school and district leaders, school board members, and other stakeholders, which began in May 2016. The federal government approved NYS's ESSA plan in January 2018.
New York State’s plan for ESSA can be found in its entirety at www.nysed.gov/essa/nys-essa-plan.
Goals under New York State's Plan for ESSA
• Provide all students comparable access to a world-class curriculum aligned to Next Generation State standards
• Reduce persistent achievement gaps by promoting the equitable allocation of resources in all public schools and the provision of supports for all students
• Support educator excellence and equity through the entire continuum of recruitment, preparation, induction, professional learning, evaluation, and career development of teachers and school leaders
• Build an accountability and support system that is based upon multiple measures of college, career, and civic readiness
• Use performance measures that incentivize all public schools to move all students to higher levels of achievement and attainment and measure student growth from year to year
• Identify low-performing schools by using multiple measures
• Recognize that school environment has an effect on student academic performance and support efforts to improve the climate of all schools
• Ensure that all students have access to support for their social-emotional well-being
• Provide all students access to extra-curricular opportunities so they can serve their schools and communities, participate in community-based internships, and engage in sports and arts
• Promote a relationship of trust, cultural responsiveness, and respect between schools and families, recognizing that student achievement and school improvement are shared responsibilities
• Ensure that effective educator practice is driven by an understanding of content knowledge, evidenced-based instructional practices, and a commitment to all students and their families
• Ensure that students with disabilities are provided services and supports consistent with the principles of the Blueprint for Improved Results for Students with Disabilities
• Provide educators with opportunities for continual professional development in the areas of equity, anti-bias, multicultural, and culturally responsive pedagogies
• Support districts and their communities in engaging in critical conversations about culturally responsive educational systems
• Support schools in developing and implementing policies that result in all students being educated to the maximum extent possible with their general education peers and provide appropriate supports and services to promote positive student outcomes
How Will Parents and Families Know if the ESSA Plan is Working?
SED will publish an annual set of reports that highlight school conditions and students’ opportunities to learn. These will be used for diagnosing needs and demonstrating progress in achieving quality and equity at the school, district, and State levels. Some of these measures include:
• School Climate
• School Safety
• Per Pupil School Funding
• Access to Specific Learning Opportunities
• Student Access to Highly Qualified Teachers
• Access to Staffing Resources
• Integration of Students
• High School Credit Accumulation/Completion of Required Credits/Successful completion of coursework for graduation
• Student Attainment of Industry- Approved Licenses or Certificates Post-Graduation Outcomes Postsecondary Enrollment Rates Postsecondary Persistence Rates
• Teacher Turnover
• Teacher Absences
• Teaching Conditions
• Parent Involvement and Engagement
While these measures are being considered for inclusion in the accountability and reporting systems, SED will develop a data dashboard that will provide parents with a transparent and intuitive way to evaluate the performance of schools in many areas, not just academic subjects.
How Was the ESSA Plan Created?
NYSED and the Board of Regents solicited public input and feedback regarding the development of the state’s ESSA plan beginning in May 2016. Throughout the process, the Board of Regents was committed to hearing all stakeholder voices and encouraging discussions between groups with diverse viewpoints. NYSED and Board of Regents created a framework for engaging stakeholders that included the following activities:
• Creation of the ESSA Think Tank
• Regular consultation with the Title I Committee of Practitioners (COP)
• Fall and Winter Regional Stakeholder Meetings on ESSA
• Public Online Surveys
• Spring Public Hearings on the ESSA Draft Plan and Public Comment Period on the ESSA Draft Plan
• Educator Conference on ESSA
• Consultation with National Educational Experts
Updates to the Board of Regents on ESSA, with items, presentations, and webcasts also available to the public on the Board of Regents webpage
Over 5,000 students, parents, teachers, school and district leaders, school board members, and other stakeholders participated in the NYSED’s stakeholder engagement initiatives.
Educators will be at the forefront of the implementation of the state’s ESSA plan, and therefore the state prioritized their involvement in the creation of the plan. In addition to serving on the ESSA Think Tank and COP and attending the ESSA regional meetings, educators also participated in ESSA Conference for Educators held in June 2017. Educators provided the NYSED with valuable feedback on how to effectively support implementation of the plan across the state.
Public Online Surveys
To solicit input on characteristics of Highly Effective Schools, possible indicators of school quality and student success, and guiding principles, NYSED and the Board of Regents created and distributed online surveys.
The largest number of survey responses came from the Survey on Possible Indicators of School Quality and Student Success, with 2,416 respondents. The Board of Regents ultimately used the survey feedback to determine that NYS would use chronic absenteeism as an indicator for School Quality and Student Success at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. More than two-thirds of survey respondents strongly supported/supported the use of chronic absenteeism as a measure of school quality and student success.
The high school level will also use a College, Career, and Civic Readiness Index as a measure of school quality and student success. Such an indicator drew substantial support from respondents to the survey mentioned above, with two-thirds strongly supporting or supporting the use of a College, Career, and Civic Readiness Index.
The online survey results are also being used to determine what measures will be incorporated into New York State’s data dashboard and considered for inclusion in the accountability system once valid and reliable baseline data becomes available.
The NYS goals and indicators for ESSA are aligned with My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, which seeks to ensure all students:
- Enter school ready to learn
- Read at grade level by third grade
- Graduate from high school ready for college and careers
- Complete postsecondary education or training
- Successfully enter the workforce
- Grow up in safe communities and get a second chance if a mistake is made
The Board of Regents is committed to using its ESSA plan and the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to increase equity of outcomes in New York State’s schools and support the development and adoption of policies and programs that promote the values of socioeconomic, racial, cultural, and other kinds of diversity.