state board/governance
California completes ESSA plan
With $2.4 billion in federal funding on the table, the State Board of Education finalized California’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan at a special April meeting. The plan has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for approval.
California’s final plan has been two years in the making and aims to balance requirements for two different accountability systems — the California School Dashboard and the federal education program. One sticking point had been the federal focus on individual schools and academic achievement while California has stressed the achievement of school districts and metrics ranging from graduation rates to suspension rates.

To reconcile these points, the SBE’s plan includes the separate reporting of academic performance and change in academic performance over time. Additionally, 11th-grade standardized testing scores will be added to high school ratings.

  • State Board of Education resolves final issues with ESSA plan and submits to U.S. Department of Education
Another issue addressed at the April meeting was the ESSA requirement to identify and assist the bottom 5 percent of schools serving large numbers of students living in poverty. After many discussions about how to best identify and support those schools, the SBE agreed to use Dashboard indicators to select those low-performing schools. Under California’s plan, schools with indicators that are red in all categories or all but one category will be targeted for help. Also included in the bottom 5 percent cohort are schools with five or more indicators available, of which half are red.
Lastly, the State Board will be requesting a waiver from the Department of Education regarding how the state will measure the progress of English learners. The SBE is advocating to include the progress of students reclassified as English proficient in the measurement.

California is one the few remaining states awaiting Department of Education approval of its ESSA plan.

If passed, the state will be eligible to receive the $2.4 billion in federal funding for programs to support low-income children, teacher training, migrant students and English learners.

Said CSBA Legislative Advocate Erika Hoffman, “It is hoped that the Department of Education will approve the state’s plan submission in the next couple of weeks. Then we can all get to work on ensuring appropriate implementation of the plan and furthering the work school districts are currently doing on improving the educational outcomes for students.”