MADISON — State Superintendent Tony Evers has scheduled listening sessions to inform implementation of the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and has invited stakeholders from across the public and private education spectrum to help ensure that all students have equitable access to a high-quality education.
“The ESSA is, at its heart and by its intent, civil rights legislation. The flexibility in this new law provides us the opportunity to design a plan that works for Wisconsin’s schools and kids,” Evers said. “We will hold five listening sessions to let citizens tell us what they think is most important in educating our students to be ready for college and careers.”
Listening sessions on school improvement and school accountability will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in Madison, Pewaukee, and Eau Claire. Two virtual sessions will be held in August. Additionally, a web-based feedback site will launch May 20 at https://dpi.wi.gov/esea.
Information from the listening sessions and feedback site will inform the work of the State Superintendent’s Equity in ESSA Stakeholder Council. The group — made up of education leaders from public, charter, and private choice schools; civil rights advocates; policymakers; and leaders in higher education — will focus on bringing equity and guiding development of Wisconsin’s plan for implementing ESSA. The group’s first meeting will be Aug. 31 at the Department of Public Instruction headquarters in Madison. Subsequent meetings will be held in September, October, January, February, and March.
“Increasing equity is the focus of the stakeholder group’s work,” Evers said. “With the largest racial achievement gap in the country, we need to have tough conversations about how Wisconsin will improve education for all students. Our best chance at success will be with everyone at the table bringing a diversity of experience and expertise to ensure that all students have equitable access to a high-quality education.”
Initially, Evers will ask the Equity in ESSA Stakeholder Council to take a fresh look at Wisconsin’s educational accountability system with an eye on the value of Wisconsin’s state report cards and what improvements can be made. Stakeholders will also be asked to consider how accountability measures relate to school improvement, what school improvement strategies should look like, and when the state should intervene in a school or district.
NOTE: Lists of hearing dates and locations and invited members of the State Superintendent’s Equity in ESSA Stakeholder Council are in the official news release. An updated list of council members is available online.