Following the first ESSA plan submissions to the U.S. Department of Education in April 2017, Bellwether Education Partners — in partnership with the Collaborative for Student Success — convened a group of 30 education experts to independently review 17 state accountability plans. During the review, the experts, who represented national and state perspectives from both sides of the aisle, identified best practices in providing a strong statewide accountability system that will help ensure a high-quality education for all students. A summary of the first round of reviews can be viewed at www.checkstateplans.org.
Because the first round of reviews was designed to help provide important context for the remaining state plans being submitted in September 2017, we conducted interim reviews of draft plans released by California and New York, using the same rubric and a process that closely mirrored our first set of reviews. We recognize that these pre-reviews represent a snapshot in time and that the states may make revisions prior to formally submitting their plans to the U.S. Department of Education. Given the size of California and New York’s diverse student populations, as well as their geographic diversity, we felt that feedback on their draft plans was important in not only strengthening these state’s final submissions, but also in providing information for other states still writing their plans.
We intend to conduct full reviews of all second-round states following their final submissions in September. This interim review is separate from that process.
For California’s review, we gathered feedback from Erika McConduit, President and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana; Doug Mesecar, an adjunct scholar at the Lexington Institute; Joanne Weiss, the former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; and Claire Voorhees, the Director for K-12 Reform at the Foundation for Excellence in Education.
For New York’s review, we gathered feedback from Paige Kowalski, the Executive Vice President of the Data Quality Campaign; Phillip Lovell, the Vice President of Policy Development and Government Relations at the Alliance for Excellent Education; Terry Holliday, the board chairman of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and a former Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education; Gavin Payne, California’s former Chief Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction; and Gini Pupo-Walker, the Senior Director of Education Policy and Strategic Growth at Conexión Américas.