The ABCs of ESSA

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Overview

The ABCs of ESSA: Smart Questions, Better Stories
Chicago • October 6–7, 2016

EWA's Special Seminar Focused on the New Federal Law

Fourteen years after the groundbreaking and controversial No Child Left Behind Act became law, Congress finally passed legislation to replace it. As NCLB gives ways to the Every Student Succeeds Act, the relationship between the federal government and the nation’s roughly 100,000 public schools is in the midst of a potentially historic reset. The new law, which determines how billions of federal education dollars are distributed across the country, is less prescriptive than NCLB, leaving more to states’ discretion. What will states do with this new freedom? Will they hunch into compliance mode or take advantage of the revamped law to innovate and improve their education systems?

Join the Education Writers Association Oct. 6-7 in Chicago to equip yourself with questions and story ideas for covering the rollout of ESSA — the new version of the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Compare what the accountability provisions allow with what your state envisions; explore new ways states can assess student performance; learn how to monitor the way your state doles out federal funding; examine teacher-quality issues; and receive guidance from national reporters on monitoring what your state proposes to do.

This journalists-only seminar will take place from approximately 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6, to 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7. Travel scholarships for eligible journalists are available.

EWA’s Special Seminar Focused on the New Federal Law

Fourteen years after the groundbreaking and controversial No Child Left Behind Act became law, Congress finally passed legislation to replace it. As NCLB gives ways to the Every Student Succeeds Act, the relationship between the federal government and the nation’s roughly 100,000 public schools is in the midst of a potentially historic reset. The new law, which determines how billions of federal education dollars are distributed across the country, is less prescriptive than NCLB, leaving more to states’ discretion. What will states do with this new freedom? Will they hunch into compliance mode or take advantage of the revamped law to innovate and improve their education systems?

Join the Education Writers Association Oct. 6-7 in Chicago to equip yourself with questions and story ideas for covering the rollout of ESSA — the new version of the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Compare what the accountability provisions allow with what your state envisions; explore new ways states can assess student performance; learn how to monitor the way your state doles out federal funding; examine teacher-quality issues; and receive guidance from national reporters on monitoring what your state proposes to do.

This journalists-only seminar will take place from approximately 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6, to 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7. Travel scholarships for eligible journalists are available.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Accountability and ESSA: Where States Are Headed

From coast to coast, states are starting to decide how they will capitalize on a law that could usher in a new era of national education policy.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have submitted plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act, while others are in the final stage of crafting proposals. As states head to the finish line, officials are watching to see if and how they take advantage of newfound flexibility over testing, evaluating and intervening in schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Looking for ESSA Story Ideas? Start Here.

For reporters looking to pitch stories on changes to the main federal K-12 education law, Chalkbeat Indiana Bureau Chief Scott Elliott has some advice: Don’t say “ESSA.”

The acronym refers to the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law last December, which gives states and school districts – among other things – more freedom in how they set classroom expectations.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Under ESSA, States Take Lead on School Improvement

The day Eric Guthertz found out he was the principal of one of the “worst schools in California” started out fairly routine.

Guthertz heard a TV announcer mention a list of low-performing schools as he put on his tie.

“Hope we dodged that bullet,” he recalled joking with his wife.

But his school, San Francisco’s Mission High School, did not. Because it made the state’s list of lowest performing schools, Mission High was the subject of several news stories highlighting its poor performance.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Feds: ‘E’ in ESSA Stands for ‘Equity’

Here’s a secret about federal laws: Even after Congress passes them and the president signs them, federal agencies can take actions –through writing regulations — that change their impact considerably. That worry is on full display almost a year after Congress overhauled the nation’s main K-12 education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering School Accountability in the ESSA Era

The Every Student Succeeds Act gives local and state leaders a chance to dream up new accountability systems that consider a lot more than just test scores, and chart their own course when it comes to fixing struggling schools.

That flexibility could spur big – and potentially powerful – changes, but there are plenty of possible pitfalls that reporters should keep in mind as the states and districts they cover tackle implementation of the new law, a panel of experts said earlier this month at the Education Writers Association conference on ESSA.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

With More Freedom, Will States Raise Bar for ‘Effective’ Teaching?

When schools consultant Tequilla Banks considers how best to ensure America’s low-income and minority students have access to effective teaching, her personal history is a helpful guide. Growing up in Arkansas, Banks witnessed first-hand how educational accountability can work – or not work, as the case may be — when state governments call the shots.

What she saw left her thankful for federal government intervention.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

More Students Are Graduating, But That’s Not the Whole Story

As federal education officials tout a fourth consecutive year of improvement in the nation’s high school graduation rate, the reactions that follow are likely to fall into one of three categories: policymakers claiming credit for the gains; critics arguing that achievement gaps are still far too wide to merit celebrating; and policy wonks warning against misuses of the data.