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ESEAflex Advancing Accountability for Graduation Rates - USDOE

ESEAflex Advancing Accountability for Graduation Rates - USDOE

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Published by Peter C. Cook

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Published by: Peter C. Cook on Jan 28, 2013
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04/13/2015

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Advancing Accountabilityor Graduation Rates
BACKGROUND:
The
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
(ESEA) has directedederal resources to schools or more than our decades to help ensureall children have equal access to a quality education. The most recentreauthorization—or congressional update to the law—occurred with thepassage o the
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
 
(NCLB). Although ESEAwas due or reauthorization in 2007, NCLB has governed education policyin states and school districts or more than a decade. While waiting orCongress to complete its next reauthorization, the U.S. Department oEducation has oered states exibility rom prescriptive provisions o the lawthat have become barriers to state and local implementation o innovativeeducation reorms. ESEA exibility moves away rom top-down policies,instead supporting decisions inormed by data and expertise at the stateand local levels. All participating states must show how their reorm plansadvance all students’ achievement by maintaining a high bar or studentsuccess, closing achievement gaps, improving the quality o instruction,and increasing equity by better targeting support and resources to schoolsbased on need.
DISCUSSION:
Ensuring that all students graduate with the knowledge and skills necessaryto thrive in college and the workorce is a core objective o ESEA exibility.Progress toward an ambitious, achievable graduation rate goal is onecritical actor in determining i a school is adequately preparing studentsor success ater high school. The Department recognizes the importanceo this measure o school and student perormance, requiring everystate approved or ESEA exibility to use the our-year adjusted cohortgraduation rate* as a signifcant element in its school accountability system.
 Additionally, each participating state must:
•Setasinglegraduationrategoalforallofitshighschools,aswellas
 annual targets that ensure continuous and substantial progress towardthat goal by all students and all subgroups o students;
•Place“dropoutfactories”*onanacceleratedtrackforsubstantialinterventionsthatwillimprovestudent
 achievement and graduation rates; and
•Reportgraduationratesonstateandlocaleducationreportcards,bothintheaggregateandbydierentsubgroups
 o students—such as minority students, English Learners, and students with disabilities.How states and districts support subgroups o students must be driven by their progress toward meeting assessmentperormance targets and graduation rates.Through ESEA exibility, the Department will both recognize states or demonstrating success—such as graduating morestudents every year—and challenge states that all short o their goals to pursue rigorous reorm eorts that ocus onwhat is best or students.
 
*See the Defnition Box.
Defnition Box:
*Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate:
 
Auniorm method o calculating secondaryschool graduation rates across states,districts, and schools that increasesthe comparability and accuracy o thismeasure throughout the country.
*Dropout Factories:
Schools withgraduation rates persistently below 60percent.
 
History in Review:
Upwards o one million, or roughlyone in our, U.S. students drop outeach year. Only about 12 percent ohigh schools produce ully hal o thecountry’s dropouts. NCLB allowed statesto mask schools with low graduationrates by lacking a requirement or howgraduation rate had to be calculated,prompting 2008 ederal regulationsaimed at ensuring common and accurategraduation rate calculations. ESEAexibility strengthens those regulationsby ensuring that schools with the lowestgraduation rates will engage in meaninguland rigorous reorms.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Progress
Schools
Challenge
Growth
Innovation
Data
Waivers
States
 Teachers
Reform
Collaboration
Improvement
Goals
Success
Local
Students

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