In February, ODE released Ohio’s draft plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This is the federal act that replaces the replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). ODE’s draft Plan is posted at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-ESSA . ODE is currently conducting survey to receive public input on the proposed plan. The survey is general, and asks for input on several major areas. OAGC’s position on ESSA can found at the first link under the OAGC positions and research tab at: http://oagc.com/advocacyUpdates.asp . Please take a few minutes to read it and respond to ODE’s ESSA survey, which will be open through Monday, March 6, 2017.
The survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ESSAOhioOverview. For ease of responding, you may wish to read below for a “quick and dirty” guide to some ways to fill out the survey to encourage ODE to provide more to support to gifted students in the ESSA plan. As always, please add your own thoughts.
1) Challenging State Academic Standards and Academic Assessments
Please ensure that double testing is eliminated for middle school students taking high school coursework should be a priority in the area of assessments.
2) Aligned System of Accountability, Support, and Improvement
The reduction in N-size from 30 to 15 is a welcome change as the performance of sub-groups in more districts and schools will be highlighted.
The continued use of the gifted performance indicator and the gifted value-added sub-group is recommended with increased emphasis on the excellence gap which is the gap between the performance of minority and/or economically disadvantaged gifted students and gifted students who are not.
3) Schools and Districts Identified for Support
Ohio should recognize districts where gifted students are provided with opportunities and are performing well and as support to districts where gifted students are not provided with sufficient opportunities or where there are large gaps between gifted minority and/or economically gifted students and those gifted students who are not.
4) An Aligned, Evidence-Based Improvement System
Title I funds are allowed to be utilized for the support of gifted students. The plan should acknowledge this and require/encourage districts to take advantage of ESSA flexibility, and implement evidence-based strategies to support gifted students
5) Supporting Excellent Educators
ESSA requires that districts receiving Title II funds must provide training to educators to support the needs of gifted students. The only area in the plan that discussed PD for gifted is a reference to Javits gifted online modules that were developed over a decade ago. This reference should be removed and language should be developed requiring/encouraging districts to utilize their Title II funds to support professional development in gifted to district classroom teachers.
6) Supporting All Students: Well Rounded and Support Education for Students
Title IV funds may be used to support initiatives to improved students access to challenging curriculum. Ohio’s ESSA plan needs to ensure that gifted students are included as a sub-group under these initiatives and, in fact, all initiatives related to district or student improvement. Gifted minority and economically disadvantaged students may be the least well-served student population in Ohio. This should be addressed in Ohio’s plan.