Our efforts to create an accountability and improvement system that works for our students, teachers and schools — and replaces the system we have under the No Child Left Behind Act — are kicking into high gear.
The steering committee in charge of crafting our request for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act held its first meeting last week. Three separate working groups will also start meeting in the near future.
As these groups of stakeholders begin their work, they’re using the feedback more than 1,500 of you offered last fall as their guide.
When we hit the road in December to hear what the public had to say about the system we use to hold our schools accountable, we heard that students, educators and families want a system that’s thoughtful, fair and constructive. We heard that people are tired of the system we have in place that determines whether a school has made “adequate yearly progress” entirely on the basis of results from a standardized test given once a year that compares the performance of this year’s fourth graders to last year’s. And we heard that there’s a strong desire to move beyond a system that stamps unfair and unproductive labels on schools.
The three working groups will focus their attention on the following three areas:
- Annual Measurable Objectives – examining how we currently measure the progress of students and schools and how we should do it in the future;
- Support and Interventions – reviewing the ways in which we can and should support schools in making improvements; and
- Educator Effectiveness – established in law by the current Legislature, this group will develop guidelines for creating teacher evaluation systems.
This work will be transparent, and everyone who wants it will have a chance to weigh in.
Watch in the coming days for meeting agendas and notes posted on our website, as well as background and reference materials. Also, we’ll continue to provide opportunities for discussion in the Maine DOE Newsroom and invite more private feedback.
I’m looking forward to this important work.