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State Prepares for Discussions with Feds on Michigan ESSA Plan

July 11, 2017

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Education is preparing to begin discussions with the U.S. Department of Education (USED) on the state’s plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

State Superintendent Brian Whiston said he had a brief conversation with a top official at USED and anticipates a letter asking for clarification and information on areas of the state’s plan, which was submitted in the spring.

“We designed the plan to do what is best for Michigan and Michigan’s children, based on input from thousands of stakeholders around the state over nearly a year’s time,” Whiston said. “It’s a plan to move Michigan forward to be a Top 10 education state in 10 years.”

Whiston said that he expects the USED to ask for more detail on aspects of the state’s plan. He also urges the USED to adhere to the intent and spirit of the federal law to provide unparalleled control to states.

“We’re focused on Michigan and we will continue to work with the feds as long as they respect what the stakeholders in Michigan have expressed in our plan to do what is best for Michigan kids,” he said. “This is a normal part of the process and I look forward to our continued conversation.”

Since the state’s plan was submitted, more clarity has been achieved on a number of aspects it included. As an example, the recently-adopted state budget validated and added funding to implement the Partnership Model to help schools and districts most in need of support.

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.