Every Student Succeeds Act: Priorities of Fulton County Schools
The Fulton County Board of Education encourages the State Superintendent, the State Advisory Committee, and the Georgia Department of Education to address accountability, assessment, and teacher and leader evaluation issues as they prepare the new educational plan for Georgia under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As state agents design and prepare to submit Georgia’s ESSA implementation plan to the U.S. Department of Education, incorporating stakeholder feedback, we request that the following be foremost on their list of priorities:
That the spirit and intent of ESSA is to shift control back to local school districts
That districts are allowed flexibility within
accountability systems to significantly reduce the time and emphasis on state-mandated standardized testing
Fulton County Schools supports the concept of testing students at the level they are studying, which is at or above their chronological peers (no student will be tested at a grade level below their placement). We also support the recent legislative provisions in SB 364 that reduced the number of required state assessments. Fulton County Schools is advocating for further reductions in the testing burden on our students by limiting the assessments required within Georgia’s Single Statewide Accountability System to only those that are required by ESSA. Furthermore, ESSA explicitly authorizes states to use nationally recognized assessments such as ACT or SAT in place of the statewide assessment, and we strongly recommend accepting this authority.
Teacher and Leader Evaluations
ESSA requires states and districts to ensure that underprivileged and minority students are not taught at disproportionate rates by ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers, and measure and report on progress toward eliminating any inequities. Fulton County Schools strongly supports this requirement and advocates for a state teacher and leader evaluation system with indicators that more accurately identify effective teachers and leaders.
That more accurate indicators of teacher and leader
effectiveness are developed which place less emphasis on data from standardized tests
That a district and school level reporting system
reflects the value placed on academic as well as nonacademic indicators of overall student growth
We applaud the recent reduction in the weighting of test scores in teacher and leader evaluations following the implementation of SB364 and encourage an additional reduction of this weighting with a subsequent increase in the weighting of professional growth indicators.
School Report Cards
ESSA requirements outline four indicators that must be included in each state’s accountability system and allows for at least one other indicator that is valid, reliable, comparable, and statewide. ESSA does not require a single summative rating, such as a number or letter grade, to indicate a school’s performance. A single summative rating can hide what good a school is doing and make it harder to identify specific areas that need targeted support. Fulton County Schools strongly supports the use of a data dashboard to report multiple measures of a school’s performances within the Single Statewide Accountability System. We do not describe our students with single summative scores but provide analyses based on multiple indicators. We submit that parents should make school choices based on what’s important to them from a comprehensive dashboard and not a single summative score. BOARD OF EDUCATION Linda McCain, President Linda P. Bryant, Vice President Julia C. Bernath • Gail Dean • Catherine Maddox Katie Reeves • Katha Stuart Jeff Rose, Ed.D., Superintendent
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB). As we transition from NCLB, Fulton County