Despite Uncertainty on Education, ESSA Will Push Decision-Making to States Next | Teachers College Columbia University

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EdWeek Op-Ed: Despite Uncertainty on Education, ESSA Will Push Decision-Making to States Next Year

Priscilla Wohlstetter, Distinguished Research Professor
Priscilla Wohlstetter, Distinguished Research Professor
An opinion piece in Education Week by Priscilla Wohlstetter, Distinguished Research Professor at Teachers College, and two TC graduate students says that despite much uncertainty surrounding education under the Trump administration, “the Every Student Succeeds Act will be fully implemented in the 2017-18 school year, devolving more decision-making authority to the states.”

“States are expected to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education outlining their unique, respective goals around accountability, assessment, monitoring, and support,” write Wohlstetter and coauthors Darius R. Brown, a master's student education policy in the College’s Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis; and Megan Duff, a doctoral student in the same program. “Governors, legislatures, and state schools chiefs must agree on ESSA plans before the state chiefs submit them to the federal government for approval. So, are state education agencies—and, more important, state governments—up to the task?”

The Obama administration gave states the option to submit their plans either by April 3 or September 18, 2017, prompting Wohlstetter and her students to ask, “what would lead a state to select the earlier deadline? To find out, we … examined the characteristics of states in the early and later submission groups.”

Their findings “suggest that states opting for the earlier deadline will have greater capacity to implement ESSA. Right now, this capacity could also be reflected in stakeholder engagement, since ESSA requires states to engage in ‘meaningful consultation’ with various groups, such as parents, educators, business leaders, and civic organizations, during the planning process,” they write.

The research, conducted over the past five months, is part of an ongoing project at Teachers College to examine intergovernmental relations under ESSA.

LINK: Click here to read original article (subscription required) or click here to download PDF.

Published Friday, Mar 10, 2017