Michigan Submits Updated ESSA Plan to the U.S. Department of Education

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395
Agency: Education

August 18, 2017

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Education has re-submitted the state’s plan to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, responding to USED’s official feedback received two weeks ago.

ESSA is the new federal law that replaced the previous No Child Left Behind Act. Every state is to develop a plan that it will use to improve educational outcomes for children and hold schools accountable and transparent for that success.

The re-submitted plan includes requested technical detail and clarifications to the first submitted plan, as well as better defined information on a school accountability system.

“When the plan first was submitted, it contained three options for school accountability,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. “After the legislature adjourned for the summer, it became clear that we would be going forward with a Transparency Dashboard.

“Our staff have been working diligently to fully develop that dashboard and an index from which to identify the state’s most struggling schools,” he said. “Identifying those struggling schools is required by both federal and state law, along with the supports those schools will be receiving.”

Michigan’s ESSA plan is a thoughtful and dynamic plan to keep Michigan schools moving forward. It builds upon the goals and strategies outlined in the Top 10 in 10 initiative and the Governor’s 21st Century Education Commission.”

Due to the short turnaround time USED gave the state to submit its updated plan, education stakeholders were not directly involved in this revision, although it was informed by their previous contributions.

“We will be bringing back the education stakeholders who helped develop the original plan and update them on the re-submitted details,” Whiston said. “The decisions made on the re-submitted plan were based on their input throughout the original process.”

The concept of the federal law is to give schools more flexibility in how they meet the comprehensive needs of their students with tailored strategies for student and educator success, and less focus on compliance to federal requirements.

At its core, Michigan’s ESSA plan centers on Michigan’s children – their opportunity to learn; to access excellent educators and meaningful supports; and to successfully transition to college, career, and life.

The Michigan ESSA plan is the product of nearly a year of work, engaging thousands of stakeholders through work groups, community meetings, focus groups, online surveys, webinars, and general input from the public. It was developed through the inclusion and consultation with the Governor; State Board of Education; state legislature; and representatives from local school districts, schools, intermediate school districts, Michigan’s 12 federally-recognized tribal education departments, civil rights groups, education organizations, teachers, parents, students, business leaders, community members, and foundations.

“I said from the beginning of this work that we are going to put forward a plan that is best for the students in Michigan,” Whiston said. “This is how we move forward, and I want to thank all of the passionate people who provided input and helped inform this plan. Let’s all work together now to put the plan into action.”

As work moves forward toward implementation and as the conversation continues, particularly around assessment and accountability, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) will leave the MDE-ESSA@michigan.gov email account open for any additional feedback that anyone may want to submit, based on the re-submitted plan and will consider that feedback as the state works with USED on plan approval and throughout implementation of the plan.

To read Michigan’s ESSA Plan (as it has been updated), an Overview of the plan, and historical documents developed during various iterations of the plan, go to www.michigan.gov/ESSA.