The following resources focus on the educational climate and betterment of those serving the K–12 educational community.

Public Comment Requested on ESSA: At the end of May the US Department of Education published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing Accountability and State Plans under ESSA with comments due August 1st. Read more online at the Federal Register.

New ESSA Video Interview Series: Education Commission of the States recently teamed up with the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center (BSCP) on a video project. This unique video series, Opportunities and Challenges in a New Policy Environment: A Conversation with State Chiefs, has Dr. Alan Morgan of BSCP discussing ESSA with state chiefs from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa. In the final video of this six-part series, Jeremy Anderson, president of Education Commission of the States, speaks with Dr. Morgan about the opportunities and challenges that exist for states regarding the implementation of ESSA and about the potential for collaboration as states develop their individual plans.

More Testing, Less Play: Study finds higher expectations for kindergartners. University of Virginia researchers Daphna Bassok, Scott Latham and Anna Rorem analyzed the U.S. Department of Education’s Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, which includes a nationally representative annual sample of roughly 2,500 teachers of kindergarten and first grade who answer detailed questions. Their answers can tell us a lot about what they believe and expect of their students and what they actually do in their classrooms. (NPR, June 21).

ESSA’s Well-Rounded Education: A new report from Education Commission of the States, ESSA’s Well-Rounded Education, reviews the definition of a “well-rounded education” and how states can support the success of their students through a comprehensive curriculum. This report also explores changes to previous education laws and highlights the new opportunities that are available to states through ESSA.

Strategies, Tools, Examples and Resources to Help States Engage with Stakeholders to Develop and Implement their ESSA Plans. CCSSO created a guide for states on engaging stakeholders around the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The guide was created with input from a variety of educational partners, including civil rights organizations, the NEA and AFT, and the PTA.

New Alliance Report: Ensuring Equity in ESSA. The academic needs of large numbers of African American and Latino students, students from low-income families, English language learners, students with disabilities, and other groups of traditionally underserved students in twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia could be ignored under a new proposal from the U.S. Department of Education, according to a new report by the Alliance for Excellent Education. The report, Ensuring Equity in ESSA: The Role of N-Size in Subgroup Accountability, examines where individual states set their “n-size,” the number at which students in these groups will trigger improvement actions for low academic performance.

ED Proposes More Holistic Approach to Assessing Schools. The U.S. Department of Education released a set of proposed accountability regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act last week. The regulations recommend a shift to a more holistic view of school performance based on multiple measures beyond just reading and math and requires more meaningful involvement of stakeholders including educators and parents in implementing the new law.  Secretary John King said the regulations represent an attempt to move away from the “over-prescriptive and, to some extent, punitive” approach to accountability that existed under No Child Left Behind (Ujifusa, Education Week).

Cross-Generational Differences in Educational Outcomes in the Second Great Wave of Immigration. Educational Outcomes Worsen with Successive Immigrant Generations First-generation immigrants do better in math and reading than their second-generation peers and second-generation students outperform third-generation immigrants, finds a report by AIR and Northwestern University. The study, which looked at Florida’s Asian and Hispanic immigrants, also found that recent immigrants were far likelier to graduate from high school.

2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection: A First Look. This report features national data from the 2013-14 school year on issues that affect education equity and opportunity for students. (Source: U.S. Department of Education).

District 203 Students Can Earn Seal of Biliteracy (Naperville Sun – June 8). Naperville Central and Naperville North will join the growing number of high schools that acknowledge student proficiency in multiple languages. Starting next year, high school students in Naperville School District 203 will be able to apply for either an Illinois Seal of Biliteracy or state commendation toward biliteracy.

High School Graduation Rates Through Two Decades of District Change. (UChicago Consortium on School Research). Sixteen years ago, high school students in Chicago Public Schools were almost as likely to drop out as they were to graduate; today they are three times as likely to graduate as drop out. What is driving this remarkable increase? This report addresses the extent to which various factors could account for the changes in graduation rates, including changes in student performance and student demographics, increasing numbers of charter and selective enrollment high schools that serve Chicago students, and changes in school practices around improving attendance and course performance.

Five Questions to Promote Success in High-Poverty Schools. Teachers at high-performing, high-poverty schools should ask themselves a set of questions to ensure they are fully focused on maximizing student, professional, and system-level learning. Too often, these schools rely on a “pedagogy of poverty” that overuses teacher-controlled discussions and decision-making, say turnaround experts and authors William Parrett and Kathleen Budge, as they propose a roadmap for a different alternative (Edutopia).