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New State Education Standard Focuses on How States Will Build on Their ESSA Plans and Keep Equity Central

For Immediate Release: September 18, 2017
Contact: Renee Rybak Lang, 703-740-4841

New State Education Standard Focuses on How States Will Build on Their ESSA Plans and Keep Equity Central

Alexandria, VA – Today, 34 states are submitting their plans for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to the U.S. Department of Education, as 17 did earlier in the year. As these plans are reviewed, revised, and rolled out, states will face challenges in ensuring the implementation of their plans keeps faith with the spirit of ESSA. The new issue of NASBE’s award-winning journal, The State Education Standard, looks at ways states can build upon their ESSA plans to ensure all students receive an excellent education.

The Education Trust’s Ryan Smith and Lillian Lowery open the issue with an article that stresses the importance of keeping equity as the cornerstone of ESSA implementation. They highlight what state policymakers should look for—and what to watch out for—in state plan implementation.

Stakeholder engagement was a key requirement for states in crafting their ESSA plans. Ginger Ostro of Advance Illinois gives an advocacy organization’s perspective on how that process was carried out and will continue in Illinois, while Opportunity Institute’s Molly Mauer writes how states can help school districts begin local conversations needed to draft their own ESSA plans. She offers five principles to guide ongoing state and district engagement with their stakeholders. In the NASBE Interview, a roundtable of state board leaders and state chiefs from Illinois, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia discuss how they used stakeholder feedback to shape their state plans and how they see engagement as an essential piece of their implementation strategy going forward.

Achieve’s Sandra Boyd tackles a looming challenge: How will policymakers know whether they are achieving the goals they have set? How will schools know whether they are making real progress? Public reporting of data is at the heart of the answer, yet sometimes data can be used to cast shadows over important information rather than shed light on them. Boyd explains how state boards can ask smart questions to keep data reporting honest and transparent.

Despite congressional rescinding of the federal regulations over teacher preparation, Chad Aldeman and Ashley LiBetti Mitchel of Bellwether Education Partners urge state boards to implement the regulations anyway and use them as a guide to help ensure teacher preparation aligns with their ambitions for student achievement.

Read the full September 2017 issue of The State Education Standard. Individual articles can be downloaded here.

NASBE is the only national organization giving voice and adding value to the nation’s state boards of education. A nonprofit organization founded in 1958, NASBE works to strengthen state leadership in educational policymaking, promote excellence in the education of all students, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, and ensure continued citizen support for public education. Learn more at


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