OSEA members have an opportunity to help Oregon reshape its education system as the state refines its plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) started developing its state implementation plan last spring, but there is still much work to be done before the final plan is completed and submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in April 2017. ODE has released a draft framework of its state plan (click here for a summary document) and is in the process of soliciting public feedback through an online survey and a series of community forums held at the following venues statewide:'
- January 18 — 6:30 p.m., Washington Elementary School, 1205 Southeast Byers Avenue, Pendleton
- January 23 — 6:30 p.m., Woodburn High School, 1785 North Front Street, Woodburn
- January 24 — 6:30 p.m., High Desert Education Service District, 2804 Southwest Sixth Street, Redmond
OSEA encourages members to participate in the online survey and to consider attending one of the forums. ODE designed the survey and forums to ensure that its implementation plan is rooted in the day-to-day needs of educators, students and communities. From OSEA’s perspective, it is essential that classified employees are included in this process. The online survey is set to close on January 16.
ESSA was signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA). ESSA is a long-overdue reset of the federal role in education policy. It paves the way for an education system that affords states and educators greater flexibility while maintaining federal funds for the students who need them most.
While not perfect, ESSA is a tremendous improvement over NCLBA. It supports classified employees by:
- Maintaining the role of classified employees: ESSA keeps certification requirements that help prevent school districts from hiring classified employees with little educational experience or professional training.
- Requiring collaboration: ESSA ensures classified employees are included in the list of stakeholders who must be consulted in the development of state and local plans under Title II, and local plans under Title I, including the operation of targeted assistance school programs.
- Advancing professional development: ESSA expands professional development opportunities for classified employees, giving states the ability to establish, expand or improve pathways for support staff to earn teacher certification.
- Providing collective bargaining protections: Teachers and classified employees are covered by the Title I and Title II collective bargaining protections.
- Supporting efforts to improve teaching and learning conditions: ESSA allows states and districts to use Title II funds to conduct and publicly report on an assessment of educator support and working conditions.