CST Publication – A First Look at State Responses to ESSA and Low-Performing Schools

A First Look at State Responses to ESSA and Low-Performing Schools

Prepared By Caitlin Scott & Nora Ostler, Education Northwest

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of December 2015 identifies important new responsibilities and opportunities for state education agencies (SEAs) as their leaders work to turn around low-performing schools. This report reveals important information about these SEA leaders’ early reactions to ESSA as it applies to school improvement.

The report is part of an evaluation of the federal Center on School Turnaround (CST), conducted by Education Northwest, a nonprofit research, evaluation, and technical assistance organization. Education Northwest administered a survey between February 25 and March 18, 2016, to all of the CST’s SEA contacts. Ultimately, the sample included responses from at least one contact in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. Almost two thirds of respondents worked in offices of school turnaround or improvement, about a fifth worked in Title I offices, almost a tenth worked in accountability, and the rest had roles in such offices as outreach or grants.

We limited the analysis to a single average response from each SEA, to provide a national view with each state represented equally, regardless of the number of participants from that state.