Fordham Institute Puts In 2 Cents On ESSA, Garden State Gets Middle of Pack Rating

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The Fordham Institute is out with its own review of state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).   

While some independent reviews have found the first 17 state plans submitted to the Education Department lacking, either in ambition or detail, Fordham, a conservative education think tank, is assigning those states mostly “strong” and “medium” marks.  Specifically, the group indicated that ‘all states (that have submitted plans) are moving in a positive direction under ESSA.”  Fordham also ranked seven state plans as good or great.  New Jersey ranked in the middle of the pack under the think tank’s methodology.

The reviews may be a little more positive because the think tank is only evaluating plans on three metrics. Those metrics include:

·         whether states are assigning clear, understandable ratings to schools;

·         whether states are focusing on all students, not just low-performers; and

·         whether state accountability systems fairly measure and judge all schools, including high-poverty schools.

Arizona, Colorado and Illinois earn the highest marks in all three categories, followed by Connecticut, D.C. and Vermont, which also earned high marks.

For each of the three objectives, states could earn grades of strongmedium, or weak. Three states—Arizona, Colorado, and Illinois—earned strong ratings across the board. Four others—Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Tennessee, and Vermont—receive two strong marks and one medium. Only one state, North Dakota, missed the mark entirely, earning three weak ratings.

The Report