MSDE visits for ESSA Listening Tour
CAMBRIDGE — The Maryland State Department of Education made a stop at the Dorchester Career and Technology Center on Tuesday, Jan. 10, as part of their statewide ESSA Listening Tour.
The purpose of the meeting was to gather feedback and ideas from community and education stakeholders regarding the draft of the Every Student Succeeds Act State Consolidated Plan.
The ESSA was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 10, 2015, and is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind.
MSDE has assembled the first draft of the State Consolidated Plan and is seeking feedback from educators, administrators, parents, and other community stakeholders. The thoughts and ideas of these groups will be considered when revising the plan for submission to the federal Department of Education in September of this year.
Under the new law, states are given more flexibility to choose their goals and how to determine accountability. There is also an emphasis on supporting and improving the lowest performing schools.
Attendees at Tuesday’s meeting were separated into three groups, and MSDE representatives led each group through three discussion sessions: accountability and standards/assessments, supporting excellent educators, and supporting all students and low performing schools.
On the topic of accountability and standards, stakeholders said that consistency and ease of access to information is key, and expressed interest in using additional indicators of success outside of academic standards.
Suggested ways to support educators and provide each student with the equal access to an excellent educator included more hands-on classroom time for those training to be teachers, better professional development programming, providing them with better knowledge of how to teach a diverse group of students, and morale-boosting programs.
Strategies for supporting low performing schools focused on community and parent engagement, teaching life skills through a work-study style program, and investing in good leaders in the schools.
Through Tuesday, Jan. 31, a survey is available online at http://mar ylandpublic-schools.org/Pages/default. aspx to provide additional feedback on the new plan for Maryland’ s public education system. The dates for three additional ESSA Listening Tour stops are planned in other areas of the state, and can also be found through the link above.