The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) opened a 30-day public comment period on the state plan for ESSA.

The best way for individuals to share their comment is through the Online Public Comment Survey. These comments need to be submitted by Aug. 31. MDE will host six public meetings to provide an overview of the plan and receive comments:

  • St. Paul: Tuesday, August 15 at the Wilder Foundation Auditorium
  • Rochester: Wednesday, August 16 at John Marshall High School Auditorium
  • Mankato: Thursday, August 17 at West High School Auditorium
  • Moorhead: Monday, August 21 at Moorhead High School Auditorium
  • Sartell: Tuesday, August 22 at Resource Training and Education, First Level Training Rooms
  • Duluth: Wednesday, August 23 at Denfeld High School Cafeteria

MDE requests that you register.  All these meetings will be held 6-7:30 pm.

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.

ESSA Overview

The ESSA plan is different from the current NCLB Waiver in significant ways:

  • There is no overall school “score” as in the current MMR. School data will be shared as a “dashboard” of all the data.
  • A ‘Funnel Approach’ that filters schools on academic achievement, academic growth, HS graduation (for high schools) and consistent attendance will identify schools for support and improvement.
  • Academic achievement will be measured by students who ‘meet’ or ‘exceed standards.’ All other students, including ‘partially meets,’ ‘does not meet,’ and those who do not participate in the assessments will be counted as ‘not proficient.’
  • Growth will be measured not by statistically derived Z scores as in the current waiver, but by whether a student moves up the categories of proficiency as the student moves from the previous grade level to the current one in grades four-eight.
  • ‘Consistent attendance’ defined as 90% attendance in school is the new fifth measure of school quality and student engagement, and will be used as the final determiner of whether Title I schools will be identified for support.
  • High schools which do not graduate at least 67% of any student group will be identified for support. Federal law requires the identification of schools not graduating 67% of all students.  The MDE plan extends this to all student groups. This was described in MDE testimony as a “real statement on equity.”
  • English Language Proficiency (ELL) is part of ESSA accountability and not a separate system.
  • Non-Title I schools and Title I schools are subject to identification for support based on the performance of student groups which are “consistently under-performing” or performing worse than all students of the lowest performing 5% of Title I schools.
  • The state goals are the same for all student groups.

ESSA Resources

ESSA State Plan Executive Summary
(Overviews history, rationale and plan highlights)

Minnesota State ESSA Plan – Decisions Document
(Overview of the core plan)

Full ESSA Plan

Plan Development and Related Documents
(Additional background and details)

What Happens Next?

MDE must submit an ESSA plan to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) by Sept. 18.  The Department and Commissioner will weigh and consider the public comment and write the plan to be submitted.

USDOE has 120 days to approve or disapprove the plan. Within that 120 day window, there is a peer review process in which readers will provide comment to both Minnesota and USDOE on the Minnesota plan.

Minnesota will have the opportunity to modify the plan and resubmit should it choose to do so based on peer review observations and recommendations. Those comments will be available publicly.

This can extend the timeline by up to 15 days.  Therefore, Minnesota should expect a final answer from USDOE in mid to late January. Read what happens next.

Learn more about what school support is expected.


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