By Megan Wolfe
The enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) last year provides educators with a unique opportunity to exercise their voice in education policy. New state and district policies required under the law are currently being developed and these new rules and policies will have a profound impact on educators’ professional responsibilities and obligations. ESSA requires stakeholder engagement, and most states are actively engaging with educators, parents, school board members, the business community, and others.
To help educators get informed and get involved, ASCD has created a one-stop resource about ESSA implementation across the states. Our new ESSA state implementation map provides links to specific resources, opportunities for input, and updates for each state.
Almost every state has an ESSA page that provides further details on their activities and their timelines for ongoing engagement and policy development. Decisions around accountability indicators, assessments, English language learners, professional development opportunities, and well-rounded education are in the planning process right now. State plans must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for peer review in either March or July of 2017. Many states have already drafted their state plans and are seeking feedback from the education community.
It’s up to educators to take advantage of this unique opportunity to help shape the future of education in the states. Only you can provide the types of expertise that state leaders need as they develop and implement new state plans. Educators must help to ensure these plans and policies align support students and schools, as well as the education profession. To do so, educators should
- Get informed—Access the ESSA state implementation map as well as ASCD’s other ESSA resources, including webinars, FAQs, and links to USED resources.
- Share information with colleagues—Be sure to let your peers and others know what you learn. The more voices that are heard by decision-makers, the better.
- Prioritize your positions, goals, asks – Which areas are most important to you? Which issues will have the most impact on your profession and in your daily work?
- Organize and collaborate – Know the timeline for state decisions and identify the meetings you can attend. Develop leadership teams in your school to provide input to decision-makers on your education priorities.
- Keep apprised of the activities and decisions in your state.
Educators must exercise their voice and become a trusted expert now so that policymakers will seek your input throughout the ESSA implementation process and beyond. Check out our ESSA State Map to get started!