State DOE on track with plan to meet new federal benchmarks
The Hawaii Department of Education says it’s working with federal education officials to finalize the state’s plan for complying with new requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
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The Hawaii Department
of Education says it’s working with federal education officials to finalize the state’s plan for complying with new requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The federal law, which replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, is scheduled
to be fully implemented in the upcoming school year. It’s designed to devolve federal control over public education to states by
allowing states to select college- and career-ready standards, create school accountability systems
and intervene at low-performing schools, all without federal meddling.
Leading up to implementation, the law requires states to develop a comprehensive and collaborative state educational plan, which the DOE has been working on for more than a year. A draft was released for public comment in the spring, and the plan was submitted for approval in September to the U.S.
Department of Education.
Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said last week the department
received encouraging feedback from the feds, who indicated during a conference call that the plan was headed for “ultimate approval.”
“We had a great discussion with federal education officials, who determined that Hawaii is well on its
way for approval once we make minor adjustments to our consolidated plan,” Kishimoto said in a statement. “The state plan is a culmination of a community effort, and it’s rewarding to see that the (U.S. Department of Education) recognizes Hawaii’s effort and commitment to providing equitable and accessible
Hawaii already satisfies the academic standards required by the new law with the adoption in 2010 of the Hawaii Common Core for
English and mathematics and last year’s adoption of Next Generation of Science Standards.
That was a strength noted in a review by the nonprofits Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success, which have been critiquing ESSA accountability plans submitted by states.
Another strength noted by the reviewers: “For schools identified in need of support and improvement, Hawaii articulates a plan for multitiered support that has the potential to drive improvement.”
An area of weakness, the reviewers said, is that
while elementary and middle schools will track both academic achievement and growth, there are no growth measures at the high school level. “The alarmingly high weight given to graduation rates may mask achievement in high schools’ ratings,” the review said.
The state’s ESSA plan covers the school years through 2020. It runs concurrently with the Department of Education’s new strategic plan, which sets goals for graduating more students, enrolling more graduates in college, retaining more teachers,
improving test scores and educating more special education students in regular classes by 2020.