First, a bit of background. Last year, TEA surveyed Texans about education goals. 30K responses later (and split about evenly between parens of school aged children and teachers), the following highlights are noted from the report:
- critical thinking and interpersonal skills were the most important
- raising salaries was the #1 response to developing more effective teachers (and the current legislature apparently did not see this statistic)
- school funding was listed as the #1 way to improve schools (see same comment about the legislature above)
However, the current plan under review for one more week (found here http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Laws_and_Rules/ESSA/Every_Student_Succeeds_Act/) still relies on the same old, same old measures of “excellence”, namely, test scores. For almost every part of the proposed plan, STAAR test scores are considered.
Graduation rates also play a role as do the number of students enrolled in AP, accepted in college or the military service, and EOC test scores are the remaining considerations.
So, while there are some changes, it appears as though ESSA will rely on the same measures. The comment period ends August 29 with a final plan due September 18. Stay tuned, but do not expect too many changes.