The U.S. Department of Education requested more details in nine areas of Washington’s plan for how it plans to meet the requirements of the new federal K-12 education law, which will take effect in fall 2018.
Washington state has increased its goal for English-language learners, clarified how it will evaluate high-school-graduation rates, and made a handful of other changes to its plan for meeting the requirements of the new federal education law — the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The U.S. Department of Education said Washington’s original plan fell short and asked for more details in nine areas.
But Washington had to make relatively minor changes compared with what the U.S. Department of Education is requiring of other states. California had 24 different areas of its plan where the department said it fell short, for example, and the department told Georgia officials that the part of its plan involving testing doesn’t comply with the law.
Washington state submitted its revised plan last week.
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Among the changes:
• For English-language learners, authors of Washington’s ESSA plan clarified that the state’s goal is to have 77 percent of ELL students making progress annually by 2027. The authors originally didn’t have a specific goal, said Michaela Miller, deputy superintendent of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
• The revised plan clarifies that schools may get “extra credit” points for students who graduate within five to seven years, in addition to being rated for their on-time graduation rate. The state had already said that it wanted 90 percent of each subgroup to graduate on-time by 2027. (The subgroups include racial groups as well as low-income and special-education students). Schools with a significant number of students who graduate, but not within four years, may receive an extra point or two. That approach, the authors wrote, recognizes that some students may need extra time to graduate.
• Given the goal of more students completing college-level courses in high school, the state clarified that it will look at what percent of all high-school students complete such courses. The previous plan didn’t make that clear, and looked like it might only include schools and districts that already offer dual-credit courses.
State ESSA officials submitted the original plan in September. The authors of Washington’s ESSA plan worked through the holidays to get a new version back to the department, Miller said.
“The sooner we get our work done, the sooner we can get implementation,” she said.