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An Independent Review of ESSA State Plans

The 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) ushered in a new era for state education accountability systems. With less prescriptive federal requirements, ESSA provided states an opportunity to rethink both how they identify schools that need to improve and how those schools might be improved. The law requires states to submit their plans to the U.S. Department of Education and then begin implementing their approved plans in the 2017-18 school year. Sixteen states plus the District of Columbia submitted their plans in the spring of 2017, and the remaining 34 states submitted their plans in September.

Keeping student success at the heart of these plans is paramount. That’s why Bellwether Education Partners, in partnership with the Collaborative for Student Success, convened an objective, independent peer review of state accountability plans in order to look beyond mere compliance with the federal process, encourage all states to adopt high-quality plans, and provide a resource for state leaders working to help all students succeed. After states submitted their official plans to the U.S. Department of Education, our bipartisan, ideologically diverse group of more than 45 education policy experts reviewed each plan in small teams.