PRIORITY NOTICE: Information Regarding ESEA Dashboard and Implementation of the Federal Accountability Model Under ESSA

Dear District and School Leaders,

I am writing to provide you with an update regarding School Year (SY) 2018-19 data correction requests, the timeline for the release of the ESEA Dashboard, and implementation of the federal accountability model under ESSA.

Data requests submitted to the Maine DOE by the February 8, 2019 deadline will be completed by Friday, March 15, 2019. The updated data sets will be uploaded to the ESEA Dashboard and provided to Superintendents for review on Monday, April 15, 2019. The review period will end on Monday, April 29, 2019. After April 29, 2019, no further data corrections will be possible. The ESEA Dashboard will be publicly  available later in SY 2018-19.

Maine DOE leadership had a phone conversation with the US Department of Education (USDE) on December 12, 2018 to discuss Maine’s ESSA amendment. During this conversation Maine DOE staff members outlined Maine’s proposed amendment. USDE did not indicate required revisions to Maine DOE during the call or provide written follow-up. The Maine DOE submitted the amendment on December 14, 2018.

The Maine DOE leadership emailed USDE leaders several times over the past three months to inquire about the ESSA amendment status. To meet USDE’s required timeline for implementation, the previous administration instructed Maine DOE leaders to move forward with the implementation of the ESEA Dashboard and federal accountability system, without regard to the status of Maine’s amended ESSA Plan.

Under my leadership, Maine DOE leaders expressed concern regarding the implementation of the federal accountability model without federal approval of Maine’s amended model. After gaining a deeper understanding of the concerns expressed by Maine DOE leaders, I called Frank Brogan, Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, to inquire about the status of Maine’s amendment. As a result of that call, a meeting was scheduled with USDE staffers and Maine DOE leadership for Friday, March 8, 2019.  During the call, Maine DOE leadership connected with USDE to discuss Maine’s amended ESSA plan, which had been submitted to them on December 14, 2018. Given the USDE’s recent feedback provided during the March 8, 2019 call, the Maine DOE suspects current anticipated school identifications will likely remain unchanged. However, Maine DOE believes USDE’s proposed revisions will require Maine to identify additional schools. The Maine DOE expects to receive written feedback from USDE by Friday, March 15, 2019.

In light of these developments, Maine DOE will request an extension to make school identifications during SY 2019-20. Please know that the Maine DOE is doing everything conceivable to ensure Maine has an equitable federal accountability model that honors stakeholder feedback and Maine’s small, rural context.

Pender Makin
Commissioner
Maine Department of Education