Department seeks public comment on ESSA waiver
The Iowa Department of Education is seeking public comment on the state’s proposed accountability waiver for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for the 2021-22 school year.
Due to the disruptions from the prior year, the U.S. Department of Education is allowing states flexibility to pause federal accountability for an additional year. The state Department is seeking a waiver because the majority of the data used for determinations is from the 2020-21 school year including the spring 2021 results from the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress.
The deadline for public comment is Sept. 20.
As part of the waiver request, the Department proposes to freeze the current ESSA designations for the coming year. Districts with schools that currently are listed as a Comprehensive or Targeted school in need of assistance would continue with these designations from the prior year. There would be no additional comprehensive or targeted schools in 2021-22 based on the results from the 2020-21 school year.
While the waiver allows for a freeze in accountability determinations, the data and reporting requirements of ESSA are still in place. Therefore, the Iowa School Performance Profiles (ISSP) website will be updated with the latest data available for each measure. This would allow for transparent reporting of all available data without the impact of federal accountability. In this scenario, overall scores and ratings would also be updated for schools to reference when carrying out ESSA planning requirements and their school improvement efforts.