DeVos Releases a Parents’ Guide to the Every Student Succeeds Act

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at AEI Conference on 1/16/18.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at AEI Conference on 1/16/18.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a parents’ guide to the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Along with it comes a steady stream of propaganda that paints ESSA as a deliverer of state and local control, which it is not.

“At the core of ESSA is an acknowledgment that Washington doesn’t know best when it comes to educating our nation’s students,” DeVos said. “Our focus is on returning power to the hands of parents, states and local educators, where it belongs. Parents should not have to parse through a 500-page legal document to understand how a law or policy affects their children’s education.”

“Because states and districts have significant flexibility in how they meet the requirements of the law, parents should know and have a voice in how they use that flexibility to best help their children. These new resources will help empower those closest to students with information they need to be informed advocates as education decisions are made at the state and local level,” she continued.

There are some pieces of useful information for parents in understanding their rights under the law:

  • If your eighth-grader is taking a high school level math class and test, he or she is not required to take the State math test other eighth-grade students take.
  • Your high school student may be able to take a nationally recognized high school test, such as the ACT or SAT, instead of the test your State normally administers in high school.
  • If your child attends a school in a district in a State that receives the flexibility to offer an innovative assessment, he or she may take a different type of test in place of the standardized tests the State would otherwise administer.
  • If your child is a student with the most significant cognitive disabilities, as defined by your State, it may be appropriate for your child to be assessed with an alternative assessment. This determination will be an individualized decision, with your input, based on your child’s individual and unique needs.
  • If your child attends a school the State identifies for comprehensive support and improvement, your district may allow your child to transfer to another public school and use a portion of its Federal funds to pay for transportation to the public school you choose for your child.

Unfortunately, there is no mention of parents opting their students out of assessments which is the most significant way parents can exercise control of their student’s education. The rest is merely lip service.

Read the guide below:

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