After parents and teachers demanded more time to review the state’s plan for complying with the new federal education law, state education officials announced they will delay submitting it.
State education officials, already under pressure from parents, teachers and the State Board of Education, will delay submission of their plan for how Washington state will deal with the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction announced Tuesday that it would offer the public at least two more months to weigh in on a 241-page draft, which outlines how the state proposes to set new academic goals for students, provide support for teachers, overhaul the state’s school-accountability system and much more.
Initially, after opening the proposal to public comment earlier this month, Superintendent Randy Dorn planned to submit a final version in December to the U.S. Department of Education.
But in a statement Tuesday, Dorn said he decided to delay submission after consulting with Gov. Jay Inslee, incoming Superintendent Chris Reykdal and “various stakeholder groups.”
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“Superintendent-elect Reykdal and I are already working on a seamless transition, and the plan will ultimately be submitted by Reykdal,” Dorn said. “He will make determinations on the timeline and final content after additional consultation with the governor’s office, legislators and key stakeholder groups.”
In a phone interview, Reykdal said he pressed for at least 60 days of additional public comment. However, he also predicted the federal deadline, set for March 6, 2017 under President Barack Obama, may change once President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
Reykdal, whose transition into the superintendency officially started last week, said he hasn’t yet identified any particular parts of the draft plan that he intends to change.
Earlier this month, Dorn’s office kicked off a series of forums to gather feedback on the draft plan and at the first event heard from parents, teachers and immigration-rights activists who criticized the decision to submit the plan in December.
They told Deputy Superintendent Gil Mendoza to delay submission to allow families, especially those with special-needs children or who don’t speak English, more time to review the proposed changes to Washington’s public schools.
The plan includes provisions that would increase school accountability for English language learners, aim for 90 percent high-school graduation rates for all students by 2026 and provide more support for poorly performing schools.
In a letter sent to Inslee on Nov. 21, Dorn noted that an additional 60 days of public comment would “allow sufficient time for people to comment, bring new thoughts, engage or re-engage in the process.”
His office on Monday also released the draft plan in the top eight languages spoken in Washington schools, including Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese.