Friday, September 23, 2016

IASB, members weigh in on ESSA process

As Illinois develops its state plan to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a second Listening Tour is underway to provide overview information on the new federal education law, and allow participants to share their ideas on Illinois’ implementation.

Most of ESSA will take effect starting with the 2017-2018 academic year, with implementation occurring over the subsequent 18 months.

Members of IASB’s division leadership teams are scheduled to attend Listening Tour events and offer input. IASB has developed talking points to address the accountability section of the State Plan.

“ESSA says that the percentage of Academic Indicators in the accountability system is required to be ‘significant,’” says Roger Eddy, IASB’s executive director. “What we don’t know is what that’s going to mean.”

The current Illinois Balanced Accountability Model (IBAM), signed into law in 2015, combines Academic Indicators (student achievement and growth) at 30 percent, with Non-Academic Indicators (district compliance, best practices, and contextual evidence) at 70 percent. ESSA is expected to require changes to those percentages, and will allow accountability measures based on local practice. IASB favors the higher percentage of Non-Academic Indicators, but anticipates ESSA rulemaking will require at least 51 percent Academic and 49 percent Non-Academic.

“We would like to keep as much focus as possible on factors a school district can control,” Eddy said. “By assessing compliance and best practices, and using contextual evidence to allow districts to tell their story, districts would be measured on what they are doing with their specific challenges and opportunities.”

IASB will advocate for maintaining local flexibility on how districts can use funds to support student progress, and will promote holding schools accountable for items within the schools’ “nexus of control.” The Association wants accountability measures to rely on the components of IBAM – district compliance, best practices, and contextual evidence – to the greatest extent possible.

Round two of the statewide listening tour began Sep. 6 in Freeport and will conclude Oct. 5 in Sycamore. For a complete schedule of sites, dates, and ISBE’s progress towards the Illinois State Plan, visit this site.