Resource: Equity and ESSA Leveraging Educational Opportunity Through the Every Student Succeeds Act

Despite the American promise of equal educational opportunity for all students, persistent achievement gaps among more and less advantaged groups of students remain, along with the opportunity gaps that create disparate outcomes. However, the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) represents an opportunity for the federal government, states, districts, and schools to equitably design education systems to
ensure that the students who have historically been underserved by these same education systems receive an education that prepares them for the demands of the 21st century.

ESSA contains a number of new provisions that can be used to advance equity and excellence throughout our nation’s schools for students of color, low-income students, English learners, students with disabilities, and those who are homeless or in foster care. We review these provisions in four major areas: (1) access to learning opportunities focused on higher-order thinking skills; (2) multiple measures of equity; (3) resource equity; and (4) evidence-based interventions. Each of the provisions can be leveraged by educators, researchers, policy influencers, and advocates to advance equity in education for all students.


View entire report online (PDF)

Just Released: ESSA Guide for Tribal Leaders & Communites

The Tribal Consultation Under the Every Student Succeeds Act: A Guide for Tribal Leaders and Communities practice brief was created in partnership with the Midwest Comprehensive Center and Drs. Nicole Bowman and Martin Reinhardt of Bowman Performance Consulting. MWCC is directed by American Institutes for Research on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education.

From the introduction:
“This brief provides an overview of tribal consultation requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, Public Law 114-95, the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.11 All references to “ESSA” in this document refer to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015. ESSA replaces the requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, the previous reauthorization of the United States’ national education law.”

Click here to view the full 14-page document.

Wisconsin’s DRAFT Consolidated Plan Now Available for Public Comment

DPI has published a first draft (Version 1.0) of our state plan application under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  It is available at, along with a survey instrument to gather public input on the draft.  The survey will be open until the end of June, and in May we will be announcing listening sessions to be held in June.

This is an opportunity to provide comments about the important role of early childhood in the scope of ESSA.


Peer review written on a white board

On March 28, the Department released Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan peer review criteria for Title I, Part A; Title III, Part A; and the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Programs under theMcKinney-Vento Act.  These are the only programs of the consolidated state plan which are required to be peer reviewed; for all other sections of the plan, Department staff will review the state’s submission.  This document is intended to help ensure that each state submits a complete state plan, as well as guide peer reviewers in making recommendations to the Secretary on whether each state plan meets the requirements in the revised template for those programs subject to peer review.

The document presents each of the requirements in the template in the form of questions, broken down into smaller segments (webinar presentation).

Meanwhile, on April 3 — the first of two submission dates; the second is September 18nine states and the District of Columbia submitted state plans to the agency.  Another seven states indicated that they had submitted plans to their governors’ office (for the statutorily-required 30-day review period) and will submit plans to the agency no later than May 3.  Department staff are checking plans to determine if they are complete and, if so, will post plans online once scrubbed of personally identifiable information.

NIEA Statement on Revised ESSA State Template

Washington, D.C.– Yatibaey Evans, the President of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) issued the following statement today regarding the rollback of the stakeholder engagement guidelines in the new application for states to use in developing their accountability plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).


“NIEA is greatly disappointed that one of the key provisions of ESSA, community and parent engagement in school plans, has been eliminated from the template the Department of Education has suggested states use. With over 90% of Native students attending public schools, it is vital that Native voices are heard in the public school system.


This conspicuous absence not only risks undermining tribal leaders and Native communities in the development of state plans, but also risks destabilizing the efforts of states such as North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Alaska who have been diligently working to ensure that all are at the table.


NIEA will redouble our efforts to work with states with steadfast commitment to the language and intent of ESSA, which require timely and meaningful tribal consultation in state plans and the local consultation required of school districts.


We appreciate those states who have showed leadership and look forward to working with tribal leaders and Native communities on behalf of Native students in states across the country to make sure Native voices are at the table when decisions are made.”


For immediate assistance or questions, please contact Matt deFerranti, Legislative Director, at (202) 544-7290 or via email at

Call for ESSA State Plan Reviewers!

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Calling Peer Reviewers for ESSA State Plans

The U.S. Department of Education (the Department) is seeking highly qualified individuals to serve in a critical role as peer reviewers of State plans, as required under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Those interested in applying to serve as a peer reviewer must apply by February 17, 2017.

Under the ESSA, States will build on their experience making progress toward providing a high-quality, well-rounded education for all students. On November 29, 2016, the Department published final regulations that govern consolidated State plans under the ESSA. To facilitate the development of State plans, the Department published a required Consolidated State Plan template that aligns with the statutory and regulatory requirements. Under sections 1111(a)(4) and 8451(d) of the ESEA, the Department must facilitate a review by external peer reviewers of each State’s plan.

The ESSA requires that the Department establish multi-disciplinary peer review teams and appoint members of such teams that include:

  • Educators (e.g., teachers, principals or other school leaders, or specialized instructional support personnel);
  • State and local educational agency personnel;
  • Researchers who are familiar with the implementation of standards, assessments and accountability systems; and
  • Researchers who are familiar with how to meet the needs of disadvantaged students, children with disabilities, and English learners, the needs of low-performing schools, and other educational needs of students.

To the extent practicable, the peer reviewers should represent a regionally diverse cross-section of States and include individuals who have had practical experience in the classroom, school administration, or State or local government (such as direct employees of a school, district, or State) in the past two years.

Peer reviewers will work individually and on a panel to evaluate whether each State plan meets statutory and regulatory requirements and the degree to which each State plan will support a comprehensive and coherent set of improvements in the areas of: consultation and performance management; academic assessments; accountability, support, and improvement for schools; supporting excellent educators; and supporting all students. Peer reviewers will make recommendations to the Department to inform our review and approval of each State’s plan.

Questions about this request for peer reviewers may be sent to

Application Process

To apply to be a peer reviewer, please go to the following link to submit your resume/curriculum vitae and complete the Peer Reviewer Application and Conflict of Interest Questionnaire by February 17, 2017. APPLY HERE.


Peer reviewers must commit to the following review process:

  • Virtual peer reviewer training for approximately four hours during the week of March 21, 2017;
  • Read and provide detailed comments during off-site individual review for four-five State plans between April 3 and May 3; and
  • Participate in a 5-day panel review in Washington, DC in early May (specific dates to be established in early 2017).

The Department will conduct a second peer review process beginning in September 2017.

Conflict of Interest

Please be aware that any applicant’s selection as a peer reviewer for the State plan peer review will include a review for possible, apparent, and/or actual conflicts of interest. If a potential conflict of interest is identified, the Department will consider whether the applicant can participate as a peer reviewer in full compliance with all applicable Department policies and procedures designed to ensure the integrity of the Department’s process for reviewing and approving State plans.

Honorarium and Other Information

Peer reviewers will receive an honorarium for their time and effort, contingent upon satisfactory completion of the above requirements and consistent with the required schedule. Travel costs to the events in Washington, DC will also be covered.

NIEA Hill Day

Join Us For NIEA’s 2017 Legislative Summit

Join us on February 15-16, 2017 in Washington, DC as we advocate for Native students at a critical moment for Native education. Connect with tribal leaders and Native advocates as we meet with Members of Congress and administration officials and visit about the needs of Native students and the critical issues that impact Native education.

NIEA and our national partners will lead sessions on Native languages and ESSA implementation.

Engaging sessions at NIEA’s 2017 Summit will cover:

  • The New Administration: Native education will face questions of tribal sovereignty and the discussions of the consequences of vouchers. Participants will hear from officials who will provide updates on current programs and policy changes in the coming year.
  • The Budget for Native Education: The upcoming fight for appropriations for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years will be the most difficult and important one of the decade. Be there for this critical discussion of strategy and advocate for Native students!
  • Vouchers and their Consequences for Native Education: President Elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has supported vouchers, which she believes are a means of providing low-income and working-class parents with educational options.  Many believe that legislation to create a voucher program for Native children in the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools will be reintroduced this Congress and that voucher proposals will be a significant subject of debate of the next four years. Learn about this critical threat to tribal sovereignty!
  • A Campaign for Native Teachers: Join NIEA, Native education experts, tribal officials, and key stakeholders for a discussion on leveraging resources in Native communities to transform the lives of Native students through effective teachers. Training, hiring, and retaining teachers in low-income schools with Native students is a critical opportunity. Come learn about this Campaign!


Registration for NIEA’s 2017 Legislative Summit is free but is required. Click here to find out more information, register for the event, pre-order lunch, view the agenda, and receive assistance scheduling a meeting with your congressman.