ED Secretary DeVos Tells States to Maintain ESSA Timelines


Betsy DeVos, the new secretary of the United States Department of Education (ED), wants to maintain the timeline set by the Obama administration for reviewing state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), even though accountability regulations appear as though they will be eliminated by Congress.

The ESSA timeline includes one early bird deadline of April 3 and one later deadline on Sept. 18. So far, 17 states plus the District of Columbia have told the ED that they are shooting to have their plans ready in time for the April date, according to Education Week.
One unusual hurdle will be this: The Obama administration accountability regulations — which Congress will probably scrap — include a template for states to use as they build their ESSA plans. DeVos and her staff have said they are reviewing that template to make sure that it doesn’t ask for any information that isn’t “absolutely necessary.” DeVos’ department may release a new template for states by mid-March.

And DeVos said the department may also consider allowing a state or group of states to work together to craft their own template through the Council of Chief State School Officers, as long as such a template meets the new requirements in the law.

The possibility of multiple templates, including one developed outside the department, could complicate state preparations, especially considering that the new template will be released just a couple weeks before the first submission deadline. Multiple templates could also make it harder for peer reviewers to hold states to equal expectations.

You can read DeVos’ recent letter to chief state school officers here.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].