Start Your Engines: Why Pending, Draft Federal Regulations on ESSA State Plans Are So Important, And Five Things to Look For

Published May 2016
by Scott Palmer

In the days ahead, the US Department of Education (USED) is expected to publish for notice and comment its first proposed regulations under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  This will likely include hundreds of pages of draft regulations and explanation on critical education policy issues under Title I of the Act, including federal requirements regarding state assessments, state accountability systems, and state-local supports for lowest-performing schools.  But the proposed regulations will also address another critical topic that has gotten less attention – “consolidated state plans.” These state plans are critical because they will likely define (at least in part) the contours of state (and local) ESSA implementation over the next several years, and will likely jump start ESSA activity.  If done right, state plans could promote leadership, coherence, impact, and continuous improvement in ESSA implementation.