ESSA Federal Programs Team meets to review public comments

The ESSA Federal Programs Team met on April 14 to being reviewing the nearly 500 pages of public comment that OSPI received during their initial public comment period, between November 2016 and February 2017.

The attendees of the meeting split into small groups, each taking one of six overarching sections of the plan that corresponded best with their interests and expertise. The group then went through each comment, rating it’s viability to determine what to do with it next.

Federal Programs Team members discuss received public comments during a meeting at ESD 113 in Tumwater, WA.

Here are the eight ratings that they used:

  1. ESSA Required — comments that received this rating address existing requirements within ESSA.
  2. Included in state plan — comments that fell under this designation are already included in the plan in some way.
  3. Will consider — comments that received this rating were those that team members thought provided good insight or provided feedback not already considered. These comments will be forwarded to leads of those workgroups for more consideration.
  4. Current practice — comments that received this designation were already part of state law, policy, or practice.
  5. Out of scope — comments that addressed questions that were outside of ESSA’s purview. While ESSA focuses on a wide swath of school improvement, federal accountability, and equity, many pieces of the education system are untouched by this law. These pieces may be part of other federal policy or state law, and thus wouldn’t be included in ESSA.
  6. Not feasible — comments that receive this designation conflict with either state or federal law, or could be unfeasible because of a lack of authority on the state’s part.
  7. District discretion — comments that are outside of the realm of control of OSPI; these suggestions are up to the district to decide. One of the perks of ESSA for many education advocates is that power is returned to the state and local level, and pieces formerly dictated by the federal government in No Child Left Behind are now up to districts.
  8. Operationalize/Implementation — comments that address actions or activities that OSPI will use to operationalize or implement the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The comments will then be forwarded to the workgroups, who will take up the comments marked ‘Will Consider,’ to potentially make additional recommendations to Superintendent Reykdal. The workgroups will also review comments with other ratings.

As Washington begins implementing ESSA, the Federal Programs Team will remain an integral part of planning. The team will work to ensure that districts are met with the resources they need to implement the plan with fidelity, and help to improve Washington’s education system for students, educators, and Washingtonians at large.