State officials are proposing a plan they say will help every child succeed.
State Superintendent Chris Reykdal visited Marie Curie STEM Elementary School in Pasco to announce the submission of the state’s plan to meet the requirements set out in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
The law, which replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, requires each state to develop a plan showing how they will spend federal dollars. The Department of Education has 120 days to comment on the plan before making a decision about it.
“Our plan creates a more efficient state system,” Reykdal said. “Districts will have more flexibility in using funds than they ever have.”
The accountability standards set 15 years ago in No Child Left Behind were necessary, Reykdal said, but they came with a problem — they didn’t see students.
“It was a system that was aimed at being punitive about buildings or classrooms, or schools,” he said. “What we really want to focus on in this new opportunity is students.”
The state’s plan goes beyond detailing how federal money would be spent. It aims to be a complete change in how money is directed to schools and students in need.
The framework gives local school districts more power to decide how to reach the most needy students.
“When there are struggling students in any school — whether it’s a high-performing school or a low-performing school — those kids need support,” he said.
Along with federal money, the state would add its own to help schools turn around test scores and increase their performance.
The change would come with a reinvention of how schools are graded. Reykdal said standardized test scores would become less important, and the state would look to other indicators such as performance of students in ninth grade and how well normally low-performing groups of students are doing.
Each school would receive an annual report card starting in the 2018-19 school year. School officials and the public would be able to examine the different groups at the school by income level, race or other groups.
“You will be able to drill down further and further in the detail, so if school districts work with their board and their community, they can write very specific performance plans by school based on the very specific performance results,” he said.