Every Student Succeeds Act provides states an opportunity to create pathways for success for all of its students. By participating in the peer review process, best practices for serving students with varying needs could be evaluated, shared, and hopefully brought to scale to advance the goal of equity, excellence, and quality educational opportunities throughout the country.
I didn’t have one big area of focus, but there was something I particularly wanted to make sure was addressed: how were they going to close the achievement gap and how were they going to address the students in the lowest-performing 5 percent.
The historic divisions of equity in the U.S. are race and class. However, the demographics of the U.S. are shifting. About 22 percent of our student speak a non-English language at home. If you are not looking at equity through a language lens, in addition to race and class, then you are missing an enormous part of the population … If we don’t think about it, then we can’t really be serious about pushing for equitable opportunities for all students.
I was really focused on how will parents know how their schools are performing. What are they proposing for accountability metrics and how are they going to report out on those…. Parents have very little time; they need to make important decisions for their kids, and too much data can be overwhelming for them.
What struck me was the diversity of these plans. Each state is taking a different approach to setting goals for achievement, holding schools accountable, and helping all schools and students succeed.