NJDOE Resubmits ESSA Plan To Feds

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The New Jersey Department of Education resubmitted a revised state accountability plan to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act earlier this week.  The revised plan responded to recent feedback from the US Department of Education (USDOE).

The revisions appear to be generally ministerial, often providing required details that the feds had sought in the feedback they provided earlier this month.  Specifically, the federal Education Department last month asked the State to provide additional information or revisions to 21 areas of the plan to ensure compliance with ESSA.  Among several examples:

  • The state initially indicated plans to count former students with disabilities as part of a school’s “children with disabilities” subgroup for the first two years after a student sheds the label. But the Education Department said that while former students with disabilities may be counted as its own subgroup, those students cannot be included as part of the “children with disabilities” group. In its revised plan, the state said it plans to request a waiver to redefine the special education subgroup to include former students with disabilities.
  • The Education Department noted in its initial feedback that states must calculate graduation rates based on a four-year cohort. The state had suggested moving an English learner back one year in terms of its cohort group. The state DOE indicated in its revised plan that it would still like to do this, and that it will request a waiver to allow a school to make a one-time cohort adjustment for an English learner.
  • Finally, the state revised language specified that schools will identify subgroups of consistently struggling students based not only on academic achievement and graduation rates, but all other performance indicators, including English proficiency and chronic absenteeism rates. The state previously was not explicit in identifying the latter two factors, according to feedback from the federal Education Department.
  • Also of note, the revised plan provides more details on how the state intends educational support to migratory, neglected, homeless and runaway youths.

According the NJDOE news release that went out after the revised plan was submitted, “the response maintains the policy and direction set forth in New Jersey’s original ESSA State Plan.”

The USDOE is expected to conclude their review by September 2017.