ESSA Update: feedback on Minnesota state plan from U.S. Department of Education

ESSA Update

Minnesota receives positive feedback from the U.S. Department of Education on ESSA plan

This week, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) received initial feedback from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) regarding Minnesota's plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

The feedback was overall very positive. USDE had no questions on Minnesota’s decision-making process to identify schools for support and they noted that Minnesota’s plan had fewer requested clarifications in the accountability section of the plan than any other state plan that has been reviewed to date.

In addition to some more technical clarifications, USDE has asked MDE for clarification in two primary areas:

  • Clarify exit criteria for schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement (CSI). Among other exit criteria, Minnesota’s plan outlined that Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools that do not demonstrate improvement relative to their own performance would move to the Targeted Support and Improvement status. To ensure CSI schools continue receiving high levels of support and more rigorous interventions, schools that do not improve relative to themselves will continue to receive comprehensive support.
  • Clarify reporting of disproportionate rates of students from low-income families, students of color, and American Indian students taught by ineffective teachers. Minnesota defines an ineffective teacher as a teacher who is not meeting professional teaching standards, as defined in a local teacher development and evaluation system. MDE will revise the plan to clearly articulate requirements under World’s Best Workforce that districts examine and publically report percentages of low-income families, students of color, and American Indian students disproportionately taught by ineffective teachers. MDE will also provide supportive state statutory language that prohibits students from being taught by teachers on an improvement plan two years in a row. Finally, MDE will provide statewide data on the access low-income families, students of color, and American Indian students have to teachers with advanced degrees, which research has shown increases the effectiveness of teachers.

The full feedback letter is available on the U.S. Department of Education's websiteMinnesota has until January 3, 2018 to make edits to our plan or provide additional information to USDE. A final decision on our state plan approval will be made by USDE on January 16, 2018, at which time we will send another update to inform you of the decision. As always, your engagement in this process is appreciated. 

For more information on ESSA in Minnesota, visit the ESSA page of the MDE website.