Over 20 First State organizations signed a letter sent to the state Department of Education and Gov. Jack Markell Wednesday regarding Delaware’s implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The groups are concerned about how accountability will be measured.
Atnre Alleyne is an Education Advocacy Fellow for 50CAN, a non-profit education advocacy group. He's also the founder of TeenSHARP, a group included in the letter.
He says ESSA allows states more flexibility in implementation than its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act, creating both opportunities and risks.
“No Child Left Behind was very prescriptive about, you had to meet this goal for proficiency by this time," Alleyne said. "But now the question is: the state gets to choose these goals. So what’s our goal for English language proficiency and by when? What’s our goal for closing certain gaps in terms of achievement?”
The letter was sent as the Department of Education prepares to offer a first draft of Delaware’s ESSA plan by October 31st.
The recommendations - inspired by a national ESSA workshop at the Education Trust in D.C. last month - include involving families and communities in accountability and focusing on variables sometimes ignored, such as chronic absenteeism.
The state’s second draft of the plan is due by December 31st after a second round of stakeholder engagement and public comment period.