Less than two weeks remain to share your comments on the Minnesota State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The plan could lead to a series of significant changes for K-12 schools in Minnesota. The public comment period ends Aug. 31. Learn how to share your feedback and resources about the ESSA plan.

MREA Executive Director Fred Nolan last week shared his support of the plan and recommendation for its submission to the U.S. Department of Education to while raising some key concerns regarding the implementation. Read what to expect for school support beginning in 2018.

In a letter to Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Nolan commended the department for its leadership and the plan’s balanced approach to accountability with five indicators and to not reduce these distinct features into a single score which would hide more than it would reveal.

“The Plan’s stage approach to identifying schools for support can be applied uniformly and is very understandable,” he said. “Using a percent proficient rating rather than an index score and using growth to standard rather than z-scores both choose clarity over complexity.”

As the Department moves forward, Nolan identifies three key focus areas. Among them is effectively communicating the many changes from NCLB and the Minnesota waiver. A ‘features’ approach to school data will require a rethink of the Minnesota report card, the MDE website for school data, and how school leaders use this data.

The state ESSA Plan also ambitiously anticipates identifying nearly one-quarter of the state’s schools for improvement. School leaders and teachers need to fully buy-in and not see the ‘identification’ as a hoop to jump through.

Read Nolan’s full letter.

The plan comes after the Minnesota Department of Education held a series of meetings with stakeholders over the past 18 months.

The ESSA State Plan Executive Summary, produced by MDE, provides a good introduction to the history, rationale and highlights of the plan.  MDE also has quick look at the core of the plan in Minnesota State ESSA Plan – Decisions Document.


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