Regional News

U.S. Department of Education Approves Washington’s Federal Education Plan

Jan 16, 2018

The U.S. Department of Education approved Washington’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated Plan today.

Submitted on Sept. 18, 2017, the plan outlines how our state, in concert with our local districts, will improve learning for each and every student in Washington.

“President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act 768 days ago,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Since then, Washington has united to produce an effective plan. Everyone involved put aside partisan lenses for the sake of our students. The result has been nothing short of amazing. Our plan contains the thinking of hundreds of education experts, as well as countless hours of OSPI staff time. I am proud of the work our state has embraced.

“Now it is time for implementation. We have spent more than a year communicating the impending changes with school districts. This will define education in Washington for years to come. I look forward to the great work that will be done on behalf of our students in every district across our state.” 

Reykdal noted that a signature element of the process was transparency. Public comments were solicited after draft releases in November 2016 and August 2017. In total, more than 1,000 pages of comments were collected.

“We strove to get as many comments from as many people as possible,” Reykdal said. “And our plan is stronger because of that.”

Gov. Jay Inslee praised the plan’s focus. “The future is bright for Washington students,” he said. “I support the hard work and thousands of hours getting this plan assembled, submitted and approved. I look forward to continuing to work with schools and districts to ensure that all students have what they need for success.”

About the plan                                             

At its core, the Consolidated Plan centers on improving the academic learning of all student groups. That includes understanding the complex systems that exist at the district level. The plan updates the state accountability system to look at student growth, as well as school quality and student success indicators, such as attendance, 9th graders on track to graduation, and dual credit and advanced-course taking.

Educators form the plan’s backbone, emphasizing how critical it is to ensure professional learning that supports a positive impact on student success.

Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle), Chair of the House Education Committee, appreciated the shift of focus to individual student learning. “For too long, Washington state had a one-size-fits-all approach to public education,” she said. “Lawmakers, school officials, and education advocates, have worked for several years to move away from that system and, instead, to build a student-centered system that responds to the unique learning needs of every child. Washington state’s Consolidated Plan focuses on education excellence and student success, and it will make great strides towards closing the opportunity gap.”

Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), a member of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, said the Consolidated Plan fits well with state education policy.

“Having spent many years negotiating the landmark K-12 policy reforms that will make learning opportunities more equitable for students across our state, I know how federal education dollars contribute to the efforts to improve our public schools,” Rivers said. “The approval of Washington’s ESSA plan represents an important step in complying with the requirements that result in continued federal support.”

The Every Student Succeeds Act is the sixth reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. The previous reauthorization was known as the No Child Left Behind Act.


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