Please urge NYS to incorporate Opportunity to Learn standards, including small classes, in its accountability system

March 9, 2017

In December of 2016, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced NCLB and requires states to develop a new accountability system for their schools. ESSA mandates that schools be rated mostly on academic factors, including test scores and graduation rates. But it also allows the inclusion of a non-academic factor that would assess school quality in a more holistic way.

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is currently circulating a survey asking for feedback from the public on what this additional “school quality indicator” should be. Class Size Matters and NYS Allies for Public Education have proposed that an Opportunity to Learn (OTL) Index should be included as the school quality indicator in the new accountability system.

Our Opportunity to Learn Index incorporates evidence-based factors proven to work to improve student outcomes, and that most parents want to see in their children’s schools, such as smaller class sizes, arts education, and low teacher attrition and student suspension rates.

Please complete the state’s survey by March 20th, and also consider attending a regional NYSED ESSA meeting to have your voice heard. On my blog is more detailed advice on how you can respond to the survey if you agree that the state should be encouraging schools to focus on implementing improvements in the areas we’ve outlined, as well as a list of ESSA meetings to be held in NYC.

For those of you who don’t live in New York, you might consider advocating for a similar Opportunity to Learn index be incorporated into your state’s new accountability system as well.

2. Also on the blog: my presentation to the Westchester- E. Putnam PTA on the serious threat of privatization to our public schools at the federal and state levels.

Check out the blog also to see why I believe that the NYC Renewal program for struggling schools is doomed to failure without significant reforms — and why the DOE’s proposal to close IS 145 in the Bronx is illegal without a vote of the CEC in District 9.

Finally, I’d love to hear from you what you think of our OTL index — and also what you think about the DOE’s Renewal program.

Talk to you soon, Leonie

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011

Categories News Clips, Take Action, Uncategorized, Updates | Tags: | Posted on March 9, 2017

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