Texas Submits ESSA Plan

The Texas Education Agency submitted its ESSA plan to the U.S. Department of Education. Belton Independent School District Superintendent Susan Kincannon expressed her concern about some aspects of the plan. “The (ESSA) plan includes an overly complicated methodology for evaluating and rating schools and continues to be detrimental to campuses with a higher concentration of economically disadvantaged students.” However, Kincannon also said the broader elements of the plan look helpful. “I appreciate the strategic priorities outlined in the state plan, especially those that are focused on professional development and increasing teacher knowledge and skills in order to improve instructional practices in the classroom.”

The Texas Education Agency (TEA)  formally submitted to the U.S. Department of Education the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated plan on Sept. 25, 2017. The U.S. Department of Education has 120 days to review Texas’ state plan and will conduct a peer review as part of the process.

ESSA in Texas

ESSA provides a unique opportunity for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to chart a path for shifting key decisions related to accountability, school improvement, teacher quality, and funding back to the state and local level. Commissioner Mike Morath is embracing this opportunity to maximize the new policy flexibility ESSA offers. Under Commissioner Morath’s leadership, TEA is advancing a key goal to establish one vision for the future of the agency, aligning key decision points in developing systems to support ESSA implementation with a new TEA Strategic Plan that will guide all TEA work. Tapping into the new opportunities that ESSA provides will allow for a singular focus on key state priority areas leading to greater levels of student achievement throughout our state.

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement has been an important part of the development of the Texas state plan for the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA returns a significant amount of decision making back to the states, requiring them to establish their strategic vision and determine how they will implement provisions in the statute. TEA is acting on this opportunity to design and implement a broad, statewide vision and develop policies responsive to the needs of students, educators, families, and communities in our state.

TEA, in collaboration with the Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC), designed and carried out a comprehensive, multi-pronged engagement strategy beginning in January 2016 to collect stakeholder input and feedback to help shape the agency’s strategic direction, inform the development of innovative education systems, and create a unified framework across state and federal policy. This feedback contributes to the foundation of TEA’s Strategic Plan and the Texas ESSA Consolidated State Plan and will inform ESSA implementation as it begins in the 2017–18 school year.

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