Arizona first state to submit ESSA State Plan to U.S. Department of Education

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PHOENIX – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today proudly announced that the final version of Arizona’s State Plan in response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.

Arizona is the first state to submit a final version of its state plan to the federal government and was the first state in the nation to distribute its initial draft plan, a second draft plan and a final version for gubernatorial review.

“Arizona has been at the forefront of ESSA implementation and innovation since the release of our initial draft plan,” said Superintendent Douglas. “To be the first state to submit a plan that represents our state and the unique needs of our children is truly an honor.”

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.

To create the final version 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.

“I am extremely proud of the hundreds of hours of work put into developing this plan by my staff here at the Arizona Department of Education, and I am most thankful for the thousands of comments we received from parents, teachers, administrators, stakeholder groups, community members and elected officials that have made this the best possible plan for Arizona students.”

ADE staff also met with dozens of stakeholder organizations and education officials to gather their feedback. This document reflects much of the input received after releasing the second draft of the State Plan in November, input that included thousands of comments from parents, teachers, school administrators, education stakeholder groups, business and community leaders, policymakers and members of the public. Comments and survey responses that have been received are available at www.azed.gov/essa/responses/.

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

To give Arizona the most flexibility, the State Plan was designed to take a broad, generalized approach to the federal requirements. In response to feedback that the plan lacked the details needed for implementation, ADE developed a more specific and complementary Implementation Plan. Comments can still be made and will be considered for inclusion in the Implementation Plan.

ADE’s dedicated ESSA web site still will be updated frequently with information at www.azed.gov/essa.

Feedback also can still be submitted via email at ESSAInbox@azed.gov and Arizonans are invited to join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #ESSAinAZ.

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

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