The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) last week submitted an updated version of the Minnesota Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan to the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

USDE’s initial feedback in December was overall very positive. USDE had no questions on Minnesota’s decision-making process to identify schools for support and noted that Minnesota’s plan had fewer requested clarifications in the plan accountability section than any other state plan reviewed to date.

USDE did ask MDE for clarification in two primary areas:

  • Clarify exit criteria for schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement (CSI). Among other exit criteria, Minnesota’s plan outlined that Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools that do not demonstrate improvement relative to their own performance would move to the Targeted Support and Improvement status. To ensure CSI schools continue receiving high levels of support and more rigorous interventions, schools that do not improve relative to themselves will continue to receive comprehensive support.
  • Clarify reporting of disproportionate rates of students from low-income families, students of color, and American Indian students taught by ineffective teachers. Minnesota defines an ineffective teacher as a teacher who is not meeting professional teaching standards, as defined in a local teacher development and evaluation system. MDE revised the plan to articulate World’s Best Workforce requirements that districts examine and publicly report percentages of low-income families, students of color, and American Indian students disproportionately taught by ineffective teachers. MDE will also provide supportive state statutory language prohibiting students from being taught by teachers on an improvement plan two years in a row. Lastly, MDE will provide statewide data on the access low-income families, students of color, and American Indian students have to teachers with advanced degrees, which research has shown increases the effectiveness of teachers.

The full feedback letter is available on the U.S. Department of Education’s website. USDE’s final decision on Minnesota’s ESSA plan approval will be made by January 16, 2018.

For more information on ESSA in Minnesota, visit the ESSA page of the MDE website