Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a draft of their plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and is eliciting public feedback ahead of their deadline to submit to the U.S. Department of Education next month. Below is a statement from Jonathan Cetel, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now (PennCAN) on the contents of the plan:
“PennCAN was pleased to see that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released their ESSA plan today for public review and comment. We commend PDE for the thorough and exhaustive process they embarked on to create this plan with stakeholders.
While we are happy to see that PDE included ambitious yet attainable academic goals in the report, we are not confident this plan provides a clear blueprint for how schools will make meaningful progress.
We share PDE’s vision of creating a more holistic approach to evaluating schools, but we are concerned that the Future Ready Index will be less user-friendly as it does not assign a numerical or grade value to schools. The grade or quality measure of a school is a feature of the current school rating system – the School Performance Profile – and is a helpful tool for the general public in comparing one school to another.
In addition, a fairer metric to evaluate schools is only valuable insofar as it leads to better, more tailored interventions to support struggling schools. This plan is scant on any details regarding specific interventions or even a timeline for holding schools accountable.
ESSA provides a unique opportunity for PDE to overhaul its entire system of evaluating schools and incentivizing improvement. Ultimately, this plan gets an A for effort but a C- for laying out a bold and innovative agenda for helping more students achieve success.”