HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Secretary Pedro A. Rivera thanked hundreds of stakeholders for their involvement in a series of workgroup meetings to help develop Pennsylvania's plan to implement the federally-approved Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has worked closely with stakeholders --soliciting insight, feedback, and suggestions-- as it began development of the state plan for the implementation of federal law that replaces No Child Left Behind.
The meetings, which began in April, were facilitated by PDE and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the nonpartisan, national association of state education leaders. The workgroups focused on four key areas of ESSA: accountability, assessment, educator certification, and educator evaluation.
"Pennsylvania finds itself in the unprecedented position to redefine what learning means to us in the commonwealth, and determine which direction we want our public education system to go under this landmark new law," said Secretary Rivera. "I thank the stakeholders and experts who joined our discussion and fostered the development of inspired ideas that the Department will use to shape our state plan."
The workgroups submitted proposals to PDE, which the Department will consider when it crafts Pennsylvania's state plan. Eighty-two stakeholders, nominated by more than 60 organizations, contributed to the discussions held over the past sixth months, and each group provided three to five recommendations for consideration by the Department and other education policymakers.
Among the recommendations in the report are: reducing the amount of time spent on standardized testing; making changes to testing policies, procedures, and performance measures; adjusting the accountability system to include an array of holistic indicators; providing frequent and transparent communication with stakeholders; increasing opportunities to recruit a talented and diverse pool of educators; redefining effective teaching; and revising professional evaluation systems to reflect the factors that support teacher quality and student achievement.
An independent report by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) was made public at the meeting. The report summarizes work group recommendations, and describes each in the context of current state policy and when available, existing research on student outcomes. The recommendations and research will be carefully evaluated by the Department as Pennsylvania develops its ESSA state plan.
PDE will continue its stakeholder engagement in the coming months by holding a series of town hall style events around the state to gather additional input. The Department anticipates it will submit its state plan to the U.S. Department of Education in spring 2017. ESSA goes into full effect in 2017-18.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education