July 31, 2017

Public comment period for ESSA state plan begins

AUSTIN – Public comments regarding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plan for Texas are now being accepted by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The comment period runs through Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017.

Comments can be submitted via email at essa@tea.texas.gov. The draft plan can be viewed at

http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Laws_and_Rules/ESSA/Every_Student_Succeeds_Act/.

ESSA became law in December 2015, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. The new law increases flexibility and decision-making authority afforded states, encourages states and schools to be innovative, and holds states accountable for results. ESSA requires federal review and approval of a state consolidated plan, which provides a comprehensive overview of how each state will use federal funds to advance its own goals and visions of success for students.

Since taking office in January 2016, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath has focused on developing systems within the agency that support ESSA implementation through an established TEA Strategic Plan. All work at the agency is now centered around four strategic priorities: (1) recruiting, supporting and retaining teachers and principals; (2) building a foundation of reading and math; (3) connecting high school to career and college; and (4) improving low-performing schools. An overview of TEA’s strategic plan is available on the agency website at http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Welcome_and_Overview/TEA_Strategic_Plan/.

The draft consolidated plan is reflective of input provided to the Commissioner and TEA staff during more than 200 stakeholder meetings statewide over the past 18 months. These meetings have focused on gathering feedback on the broad aspects of the agency’s overall strategic plan, as well as specific input on the development of key policy decisions related to ESSA implementation.

Highlights of the plan now posted online include:

  • Alignment of state and federal policies – specifically in the areas of accountability and school improvement.
  • Maximizing flexibility afforded Texas school districts to provide services needed for students.
  • Strengthening the state’s commitment and support for our most vulnerable populations (including migrant, foster care, homeless, and economically disadvantaged students).
  • Reinforcing the state’s commitment to the 60x30 plan (developed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board) by aligning long-term academic goals to having 60 percent of students prepared to earn a certificate or degree by the year 2030.

In addition, the draft plan outlines how TEA is using school improvement interventions that align with current state requirements to avoid confusion or duplication of efforts, while also maximizing the impact of federal funds to support improvement strategies. 

The ESSA consolidated state plan will be submitted by TEA to the U.S. Department of Education in September.

For more information regarding ESSA implementation in Texas, visit the TEA website at http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Laws_and_Rules/ESSA/Every_Student_Succeeds_Act/.

 

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