Akron Hosts ESSA Meeting, as ODE Gathers Input from Around the State

[photo: Kabir Bhatia/ WKSU]
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by Kabir Bhatia

Educators from around Northeast Ohio were in Akron Wednesday to give input on the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The meeting was part of a series by the Ohio Department of Education to get input on the challenges facing Ohio’s students, parents and teachers.  The new act calls for the state to submit by next year a plan to improve student performance.

Lisa Gray with the group Philanthropy Ohio says one of the misconceptions about the new rules is that they take away all federal guidelines and give flexibility back to the state.  Gray says there will still be federal parameters to measure student success.

“The need to have college- and career-ready standards for all students.  The fact that we need to be assessing our students as they progress through the system to make sure that they’re making the kind of gains, and learning what they need to learn, to graduate,” says Gray.

She says many participants have wanted to discuss how state testing might change in the future, something Gray is familiar with through personal experience.

“I have two boys that are seniors in high school.  One we adopted about eight years ago [who] came from an inner-city school.  He was not educated at the level that our other son was.  And the fact that there are now equitable expectations that were able to measure how he’s performing -- that there are supports for those sorts of students that are struggling -- I think [that] is huge,” says Gray.

Last year, the “Every Student Succeeds Act” replaced the 14-year-old “No Child Left Behind Act.”  More community meetings are being held throughout the state this month.

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