Equity Opportunities and Challenges
INTERIM COMMITTEE TO STUDY THE EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT
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01:32 PM -- Equity Opportunities and Challenges
Laura Jimenez, Director of Standards and Accountability, Center for American Progress, came to the table and introduced herself. She distributed a copy of her prepared remarks (Attachment A), and talked about how minority, low-income, and students with disabilities still perform far behind their white and higher-income peers. She told the committee ways in which to improve standards and assessments in terms of equity, the success of Common Core and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and stated that students in states that adopted Common Core standards are doing a bit better than students in states that did not adopt the standards. She said that states must directly address issues related to over-testing of students, and must measure growth throughout the year so that teachers can adjust their teaching accordingly. She stated that states must take advantage of the flexibility offered by ESSA and talked about the importance of apples-to-apples comparisons to improve equity.
Next she spoke about measuring and reporting on school performance and the five indicators of student performance required under ESSA. She discussed the need to determine how to ensure that the performance of each student subgroup is included in an annual school rating, for example by assigning certain weights to each subgroup within each performance measure. She said that states also need to decide whether to use any additional measures related to student to success, such as chronic absenteeism or college or career readiness measures. She explained that schools need to take action when they aren't performing well, since ESSA requires schools to take comprehensive action when schools aren't succeeding. She said the state needs to ensure that meaningful improvement is sustained, and it is up to states to decide how to allocate federal improvement grants to turnaround schools, which is another area of flexibility offered to states under ESSA.
Ms. Jimenez discussed funding as it relates to equity, and said that money matters particularly for low-income students. She said that Colorado ranks 14th in the country on the wealth index but 42nd in school spending. Ms. Jimenez answered questions from the committee. She concluded her remarks with three recommendations: to stay the course with what the state is currently doing with standards and assessments, establish an evidence-based system to identify which schools need more support, and spend more money funding on high-poverty schools.
Ms. Jimenez answered questions from the committee.