This Policy Analysis highlights research on school discipline, past state policy trends, current policy examples and considerations for policymakers examining their state’s policies. It also looks at how states address school discipline data in their plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
ESSA requires states to identify schools that are in need of improvement and those where vulnerable groups of students are struggling. Under accountability regulations written by the Obama administration, states were supposed to publish this data by Dec. 31, 2018 but those regulations were scrapped by Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration in early 2017. The Trump administration's November 2018 ESSA "parent guide" has a section on report cards, but makes no mention of a date for them to be released.
According to a December message from federal officials to the Georgia Department of Education, state officials who are thinking about applying for ESSA’s Innovative Assessment pilot program “don’t have to pick just one exam for your test drive—but you do have to end up with a single test in the end.” The news that more than one test is allowed in the initial phases of the pilot “is a potential game-changer for states who want in on the pilot but haven’t settled on an assessment for every district to use.” However, it is unclear if this approach adheres to existing ESSA regulations on piloting a single innovative assessment system.
New Mexico’s new governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham signed executive orders to suspend and replace the controversial PARCC test, the standardized exam used in schools to evaluate students and teachers. PARCC was implemented in the state under former governor Susana Martinez and Hanna Skandera, the former secretary for public education in New Mexico, who were supporters of high-stakes tests to evaluate students and teachers. Grisham’s move was the second hit that PARCC sustained this week after The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state could not use PARCC as a requirement for graduation from high school graduation.
New Jersey cannot mandate that students pass two state exams before they can graduate high school, a state appellate court has ruled. The unanimous decision was made public Monday, December 31, 2018 but will not take effect for 30 days. It invalidates the state Department of Education's requirement that students must pass standardized exams—commonly known as the PARCC tests—in Algebra I and English. The three-judge panel found the requirement which was approved in 2016 and was due to take effect with the class of 2020—does not match a state law that requires students to pass just a single test in 11th grade in order to graduate.