January 19, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Education has approved Georgia’s State ESSA Plan, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced today.
The U.S. Department of Education highlighted Georgia’s work rewarding schools making significant progress with traditionally underserved subgroups and creating an accountability system that expands opportunities for students and supports the whole child.
“Thousands of Georgians – parents, students, educators, policymakers, members of the business community – gave us their feedback as we worked to create our state’s ESSA plan. We listened and heard that Georgians want a K-12 education system that supports the whole child; a system that produces students who are not just college- and career-ready, but ready for life. This plan is a direct response to that feedback, and reflects our continued focus on expanding opportunities for Georgia’s students.”
What is the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA?
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. ESSA gave states additional flexibility and authority over their educational systems and tasked them with developing state plans to support education – although wholesale flexibility was not granted, and requirements of the law vary in specificity from issue to issue.
Georgia’s ESSA plan sets a new course for K-12 education in the state, moving away from an excessive focus on high-stakes testing to an education system that places the whole child at the center.
Developing a plan for Georgians, by Georgians
Gathering feedback from all Georgians was an essential part of the ESSA plan development process. The Georgia Department of Education brought together a State Advisory Committee and six working committees; educators, parents, students, and representatives of state/agencies, business/industry, nonprofits and education advocacy organizations served on those committees and shaped Georgia’s ESSA plan. GaDOE also held eight in-person public feedback sessions across the state; hosted additional feedback meetings with students, teachers, parents, and civil rights organizations; and provided two survey opportunities along with social media chats and an open email address for feedback. Each plan draft was posted online for public review.
Receiving approval from the U.S. Department of Education
As part of the plan approval process, states receive interim feedback from the U.S. Department of Education. Georgia received its interim feedback December 14, 2017 and resubmitted with minor changes January 4, 2018. Many of the revisions requested by the U.S. Department of Education could be addressed with the addition of clarifying language – click here to view a redline version as submitted January 4.
Work has begun to implement key provisions of the plan, and implementation will continue during the 2018-19 school year.