Almost two years ago, Congress scrapped the No Child Left Behind Act, which was despised by a lot of people who thought it was too punitive toward schools that were deemed to be failing. Congress replaced the law with the Every Student Succeeds Act.
States have to let the federal government know how they’ll comply with the law. Washington is in the process of putting the final touches on its plan before submitting it next month.
“This is our state’s accountability system,” said Chris Reykdal, the state’s superintendent of public instruction. “It’s how we’re going to track whether or not our schools are improving.”
To analyze whether every student is, in fact, succeeding, it’s important to track how much progress is being made by subgroups of kids, not just the average, Reykdal said. That means tracking progress by race and socioeconomic status.
One aim of the state’s plan is to present that data in a user-friendly way.
“Maybe you want to look at how students are doing on eighth grade math scores, so you go to eighth grade math, you’re going to see exactly how your school is performing relative to other schools and then you’re going to be able to grab a pull-down menu and say, 'I want to look and see how African-American students are doing compared to the rest of the state,’” Reykdal said. “So we’re going to give the citizens of this state an enormous visual database they’ve never had.”