National Education Landscape

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have submitted their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans to the U.S. Department of Education for review and approval.  The remaining states must submit plans prior to September 18, 2017.  State ESSA plans outline how the state will use new flexibility to craft accountability systems, school ratings, school improvement efforts, and more.   While there is great diversity in how states are approaching these issues, some common themes are emerging.  As an example, many states are using “chronic absenteeism” as one of the school quality indicators to gauge school performance.   Other school quality indicators that appear in multiple state plans include college readiness and 9th grade success rates. 

In related news, the U.S. Congress finally passed, and the President signed, a spending bill for fiscal year 2017. The law includes a $550 million increase for the Title I program that provides funds for schools with high numbers of students from low-income families.  Total funding for Title I now stands at $15.5 billion.  States are required to set aside 7% of their Title I allotment specifically to support implementation of evidence based programs (like BARR) at low-performing schools.  The new Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant, another potential source of funding for BARR, is funded at $400 million.  Funding through this grant will be provided to states and then distributed to school districts either through a competition or by formula and used to promote a well-rounded education and activities that foster a safe, healthy and supportive school environment.

If you have any questions or would like additional information on using government funds to support BARR implementation, please contact Jon Terry at jon.terry@barrcenter.org