School Board Position on the ESSA Act

Adopted December 16, 2004

Arlington Public Schools supports the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act’s general goal of having all children learn to high standards, but is deeply concerned about the Act’s major expansion of federal authority over state and local educational programs.

Given this concern, the Arlington Public Schools supports return of accountability to state and local authorities for measurement of educational progress. In the absence of such return, the Arlington Public Schools supports the following changes to the current law and to the federal regulations and guidance and/or the state plan implementing the law:

  1. Aligning NCLB and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provisions to remove discrepancies or conflicts between the two federal laws. For example, the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), rather than an arbitrary percentage, should determine the proportion of students assessed by alternative measures and counted toward Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
  2. Counting toward the graduation rate special education students who have fulfilled the graduation requirements as prescribed in their IEP’s and have been awarded Modified Standard Diplomas or Special Education Diplomas.
  3. Including the results of retaken tests in determining AYP.
  4. Providing tests that appropriately measure and validate the progress of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in English language proficiency and subject knowledge. Absent such tests, extend the period of time before the scores of LEP students are used to determine AYP.
  5. Changing the definition of the LEP sub-group to retain LEP students in the subgroup as long as they are in school.
  6. Targeting offers of transfer or supplemental services only to students who failed to meet the target in schools that did not make AYP in consecutive years.
  7. Reversing the order in which sanctions are applied with supplemental services preceding offers of transfer.
  8. Investigate ways to make the setting of required size of subgroups for calculating AYP equitable across states.
  9. Substituting a growth model measuring student progress for the current model that relies on the proportion of students meeting a single standard.