New legislation gives Hawaii more flexibility with testing in our schools
In December, President Obama announced “the Christmas Miracle”—that Congress had managed to pass the new “Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)” to replace the unpopular “No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).” This major change shifts authority from the federal DOE to state departments of education. Testing mandates may now be replaced by states with alternative programs and other flexibility will now enable states to customize testing and other solutions for their schools.
Local Support for Changes
When Governor Ige attended the National Governor’s Association meeting in the end of February, he arranged for the legislative director, Steven Parker, to come to Hawaii to provide important briefings on ESSA for the BOE, DOE, state legislators, and the public. The goal of the community presentations was to explain the purpose and potential in the ESSA, and several PPS-HI board members were able to attend one of these meetings.
Here is an excerpt and a chart summarizing changes from Steven Parker’s presentation to the Hawaii State Legislators, March 16, 2016.
“Under ESSA, we have a new vision: one that allows a more flexible approach to testing. Efforts to improve testing are under way across the country and ESSA provides additional flexibility and federal resources to support this work.
We can now have accountability systems based on multiple measures. We can now have state determined goals not federal ones. States determine a school’s rating not the federal government. We have a mixed delivery system that allows for states to really have multiple assessments during a school year using portfolio based or observational assessments from teachers or educators who know the students and can tell what that student needs to succeed. A state also has the option of allowing a substitution of a nationally recognized high school exam in place of the state exam.”