- Nebraska has endeavored to align its ESSA plan with its existing strategic plan and accountability system, a process that began in 2014.
- In addition, the state engaged in an extensive process to involve multiple stakeholder groups throughout the plan’s development.
- The state’s mandatory ACT testing and inclusion of science and writing in the state accountability system are both strengths.
- Nebraska’s vision is ambitious; however, its plan lacks detail.
- The state neglects to connect the dots between its goals, its accountability system, and how it will identify schools in need of improvement. As a result, Nebraska misses opportunities to tie these together in meaningful and actionable ways.
- Nebraska uses a four-tier system, which on the surface appears straightforward, but doesn’t differentiate how a school is actually performing. The state has also not given any indication of how it would hold schools accountable for low-performing subgroups of students.
- On the issue of school improvement, Nebraska law mandates the identification of only three Priority Schools. That number should be expanded. The wait period over four years is too long for the identification of comprehensive support schools. Greater clarity is needed for what happens when improvements are not met.
- There are a variety of instances where Nebraska takes an unnecessarily complicated approach. As a result, communicating the state’s goals, strategies, and outcomes to key stakeholders, like parents, could be very difficult and stymie efforts to achieve educational excellence for all of Nebraska’s students.