Your child is not the only one who is getting report cards this year. The ESSA Report Cards were recently released, which grade states and school districts on their performance as well as demographic information all over the nation.
The reports were created to replace the No Child left Behind Act. Hoping that it would give states more of a say on how they run their schools.The feedback from these reports have gotten mixed signals from each state, but luckily North Dakota was not one of them..
“The people and the educators and the parents that wrote our ESSA plan for North Dakota approached it much differently than a lot of the other states chose to do and certainly and drastically different than when we were operating under the No Child Left Behind,” says State Superintendent, Kirstin Baesler.
If you aren’t familiar with the No Child Left Behind Act it was put in place in 2002, and required each state to establish academic standards and a state testing system that meet federal requirements. However it didn’t go over so well with educators.
Simle Middle School Principal, Russ Riehl says, “For example no child left behind, one of the downfalls is it looked the same in North Dakota as in South Carolina, as in New York, as in Wyoming. And we are so different in terms of you know population, and distance, and all of those things.”
That’s why in 2015 they created ESSA which stands for the Every Student Succeeds Act, providing a flexibility schools say they didn’t have before.
“Nobody really likes to do things just because they are told to them and especially if they don’t find much use in the results they are getting,” says Baesler.
Some states chose to grade schools based off test scores and teacher rankings, which has made many states angry. However North Dakota didn’t believe that was the best route to take.
“We chose not to rank or identify good or bad teachers,” says Baesler. “The belief that no teacher is wholly bad and no teacher is wholly good. There are certain areas that certain teachers are more effective in some areas than in others.”
Baesler says they mainly wanted to hold all teachers and all school districts accountable at the same level.
“We really chose to identify and focus on what areas those teachers are effective and ineffective. It not only allows us to help our teachers become better at what they do but helps us become more efficient and more effective with our own resources.”
Baesler said she has had very positive feedback from school administrators and teachers all around the state.
“I think North Dakota for the most part has done a great job of listening to our parents and students. Our teachers are valued their opinions are valued, their input is valued and in this type of work it has to be organic and start there,” says Riehl.
To see how your child’s school is doing click here.