Arizona Department of Education Releases ESSA Draft State Plan for Public Comment

(Phoenix, Ariz., Sept. 7, 2016) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that the first draft of Arizona’s State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is now available for public comment at www.azed.gov/essa/draftplan.

“After many months of hard work, I am thrilled to share the first draft of our ESSA State Plan with Arizona,” said Superintendent Douglas. “While I consider this draft a great first step in the ESSA implementation process, there is still much work to be done. This is by no means the final State Plan, and we will continue to modify this document based on the vision of all Arizonans.”

Under ESSA, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is responsible for creating a State Plan that reflects a shared statewide vision for Arizona’s students and schools on topics such as accountability, funding, school improvement and grant-making systems.

To create this first draft of the State Plan, Superintendent Douglas conducted extensive statewide outreach and engagement efforts to thousands of Arizonans through her We Are Listening Tour and via online resources. ADE staff also met with dozens of stakeholder organizations and education officials to gather their feedback. Comments and survey responses that have been received so far are available at www.azed.gov/essa/responses/.

“When I took office, I made it a top priority for ADE to consider public input when determining education policy,” said Superintendent Douglas. “This document is the future of Arizona’s education system and it is extremely important that all Arizonans participate in this discussion so that the final plan represents what is best for our unique state.”

Superintendent Douglas invites all Arizonans to provide their comments on the draft State Plan in person at one of her We Are Listening Tour events, which will continue this month in Page on Sept. 20 and on the Hopi reservation in Kykotsmovi on Sept. 21. More events are planned through the end of the year and a current schedule is available at www.azed.gov/weheardyou/.

Feedback also can be submitted through ADE’s ESSA website, online survey, and via email at [email protected]. Arizonans are also invited to join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #ESSAinAZ. Comments received by Oct. 1 will be considered as a second draft is developed for release in mid-October. The release of that second draft will mark the beginning of the official 60 day comment period required by ESSA and feedback gathered during that window will be used to finalize the plan.

ESSA, which is designed to replace No Child Left Behind as the primary federal legislation addressing America’s public education system, was passed into law by Congress in December 2015 and will take effect in the 2017-2018 school year. ESSA is marketed as affording states greater flexibility, and the new law encourages states and schools to innovate while maintaining a focus on accountability, state and local systems of improvement and a more balanced assessment system.

Anyone interested in receiving regular ESSA updates from ADE can sign up at www.azed.gov/essa/essa-updates/.