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LA hearings this week: How to review and give input on California’s ESSA plan to help low achievers

Mike Szymanski | June 12, 2017

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State education officials have solicited meetings all month to work out a plan to let the federal education department know how they will help low-achieving students. Some community education leaders said they think the state still has a long way to go.

Two meetings will be held this week in Los Angeles, and two more will be held in online webinars open for everyone to have a say on California’s Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan.

The 30-day public comment period began in Sacramento last month and the California Board of Education decided to hold meetings throughout the state, with flyers explaining the meetings in English and Spanish.

The public comment period ends June 30. The two online webinars are planned for June 21 and 24.

At the earlier public hearings, some of the state board members said they wanted to see a stronger commitment to help the state’s lowest-performing schools, many of them in LA Unified. The draft document will be updated before being presented to the federal government for the $2 billion in Title I funding for low-income students.

About a dozen parent-based groups have already offered testimony, such as Parent Revolution. “The craziest thing about the current plan is that it still has no serious plan at all for what to do about the lowest-performing schools in the state, which is disheartening and something we will continue to speak out about,” said Gabe Rose of Parent Revolution.

ESSA is different from the Local Control Funding Formula money that goes to low-income schools, which also helps many LA Unified schools. Also, Gov. Jerry Brown recently revised the budget to include more money for LCFF, which specifically helps English-language learners, low-income, and foster youth.

LA Unified school board President Steve Zimmer and Superintendent Michelle King issued a statement thanking the governor “for his continued focus on fulfilling the commitment to grow K-12 education funding. We are especially grateful for the governor’s efforts to balance fiscal prudence with the needs of all Californians.”

Some of the outreach involves an ESSA toolkit, which includes:

•  A complete draft of the education plan as it stands now that it is split into sections,

•  Explanatory videos detailing the contents of each part of the plan,

•  How to make public comments on the plan,

•  Spanish translations of section summaries,

•  Details showing support for English learners, migrant children, effective instruction, accountability, and assessments.

From the state’s ESSA report.

Seth Litt, the executive director of Parent Revolution, pointed out that as it stands now, the ESSA plan “does not even have a definition of what an ‘ineffective teacher’ is.” Litt also said he was concerned about the vague language in the interventions to help low-achieving schools.

“There are two simple questions that the state’s ESSA plan should answer for families whose children are trapped in the state’s lowest-performing schools, who are largely children of color from historically underserved communities; ‘What will you do to improve my child’s education?’ and ‘How quickly will this happen?'” Litt said. “California’s current ESSA plan makes no credible attempt to answer either question, contains no goals for schools, reflects no sense of urgency for the students that California has failed for generations and is yet another example of California’s education leadership choosing the bureaucracy over children and families.”

The Los Angeles-area meetings take place on Wednesday, June 14, and Thursday, June 15, at the Los Angeles County Board of Education Office, and additional meetings continue to be added throughout the state. The remaining Southern California meetings are at:  

Wednesday, June 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
2845 West 7 Street
Los Angeles, CA 90005

Wednesday, June 14, 6 p.m to 8 p.m.
Los Angeles County Office of Education
9300 Imperial Hwy – EC 281
Downey, CA 90242

Thursday, June 15, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Los Angeles County Office of Education
9300 Imperial Hwy – EC 281
Downey, CA 90242
Saturday, June 17, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bobby Duke Middle School
85-358 Bagdad Street
Coachella, CA 92236
Wednesday, June 21, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 24, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
To be part of either webinar, email
June 28, 2016, 1–4 p.m.
Los Angeles County Office of Education
9300 Imperial Hwy – EC 281
Downey, CA 90242


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