In a letter delivered today to chief state school officers, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos provided clarity on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation and released the updated template for the consolidated state plans.
Secretary DeVos issued the following statement:
"The updated state template will ensure states are able to better serve students with the freedom and flexibility they deserve, and which Congress requires. My philosophy is simple: I trust parents, I trust teachers, and I trust local school leaders to do what's right for the children they serve. ESSA was passed with broad bipartisan support to move power away from Washington, D.C., and into the hands of those who are closest to serving our nation's students.
"States, along with local educators and parents, are on the frontlines of ensuring every child has access to a quality education. The plans each state develops under the streamlined ESSA template will promote innovation, flexibility and accountability to ensure every child has a chance to learn and succeed."
The updated template ensures greater flexibility for state and local education leaders to do what they know is best for children, while also maintaining important protections for economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and English learners. Crucially, ESSA maintains the transparency and accountability provisions for all students and student subgroups established in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The law requires states to help ensure that all students have access to excellent teachers and positive, safe learning environments with necessary supports to prepare them for success in college, a career and life. The streamlined template retains these important components.
Releasing a streamlined consolidated state plan template at this time ensures continued accountability for results and provides states a clear path forward on a timeline that works best for them. Secretary DeVos discussed the streamlined template during her remarks to the Council of the Great City Schools this afternoon. The U.S. Department of Education will continue to engage with chief state school officers and governors as state plans proceed through the peer review and secretarial review process.