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Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Moving Towards Implementation

May 6, 2016

Legislative Update for CUE Members - May 2016 | more leg updates

Prepared by John Cradler, CUE Legislative Policy Consultant


Federal Update:


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) moving towards implementation


President Obama signed the new ESSA in December 2015 bringing an end to No Child Left Behind's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and high quality teacher standards, as well as federal penalties for failing schools, replacing them with state-driven standards and accountability systems and greater local control over K-12 education. ESSA also established a new program that can support technology purchases and technology professional development, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant (SSAEG) program. For details on SSAEG program read the ISTE ESSA Whitepaper:


Now that ESSA is approved by the Congress and signed by the President, the U.S Department of Education (ED) develops specific rules, interpretations, and related guidelines with specific instructions on how to plan and implement ESSA at the State and District levels. The ED conducted meetings in

Washington, D.C. to obtain input from education leaders to help them formulate the guidelines for States and Districts.


CUE provides input to ED on ESSA implementation: The Executive Director of Future Ready, Sara Hall and the ED Director of Educational Technology, Joseph South invited CUE along with national associations to include ISTE, CoSN, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSO), NEA, NSBA, State Educational Technology Directors (SETDA), and others to provide input to the preparation of the ESSA guidance documents which would include developing and coordinating State ESSA plans, district planning for ESSA, accountability process, and more. John Cradler, CUE Legislation and Policy Consultant represented CUE at the meeting on April 26th, which addressed: 1) aspects of the state’s role in implementation of ESSA, 2) definitions of ESSA terms to include: digital learning, personalized learning, blended learning and openly-licensed educational resources, 3) language in Title IVA that would be helpful to clarify, 4) others areas in ESSA Title IVA that should be highlighted, and 5) provide illustrative examples suggested State and District guidance. It was predicted by the ED that final guidance to States would be ready by September 2016. CUE COO/CFO Marisol Valles also represented CUE at a special hearing on ESSA with Secretary King on May 10.


ESSA does not guarantee more technology without local action: It is important for educators to know that while it is possible to use ESSA/SSAEG funding for educational technology and related professional development, the State and especially the district ESSA plans must include line items and budget to actually use these funds for educational technology. Educators must take the initiative to participate on local committees and influence their district leadership to make technology a priority for use of State and district ESSA funding. There will usually be other local priorities that will compete with educational technology. This is also the case for allocating State LCFF funding for technology by incorporating educational technology objectives and activities into the LCAP. This has been discussed in prior CUE Legislative Updates and emphasized in CUE Advocacy Sessions. It is anticipated that CUE will be producing guidelines and examples for educators to use for leveraging both ESSA and LCFF funding for technology.


The Internet Lifeline Program and closing the Homework Gap:

On March 31, the FCC voted 3-to-2 to expand the Lifeline program, which currently subsidizes telephone access for low-income Americans. Commissioner Rosenworcel was one of three of the five FCC Commissioners to vote “yes” on the expansion. This was considered a major breakthrough and was strongly supported by CUE, (see the last Update at www.cue.org/legupdate_4_16).


New legislation threatens FCC ruling and authority: H.R. 2666 (The No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act) passed the U.S. House 241-173 on April 15. It now heads to the U.S. Senate. The measure could:  1) Strip the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of authority to investigate consumer complaints about schemes used by big Cable/Internet companies to price-gouge consumers (data caps, overage fees, etc.), 2) Undermine historic net neutrality consumer protections that give the FCC the authority to defend Internet customers against unjust or unreasonable prices and business practices, 3) effectively strip the FCC of its ability to act on consumer complaints and protect Internet customers from price gouging and threats to net neutrality. CUE will oppose H.R. 2666 along with CETF, ISTE, and other entities that support expanded access to, and use of the Internet.


State Update


AB 1758, Stone, The Internet For All Now Act:  introduced in February 2016, sets a goal of 90% of all households online by 2023 and authorizes funding to assist low-income households get online so that our most disadvantaged residents can be included in the Digital Economy. This bill is now referred to as the Internet For All Act of 2016. Status: This bill died due to significant opposition from various industries who suggested that the bill went too far and extended Internet access more than was necessary.


AB 2680, Bonilla, Parent Engagement: This bill would fund locally developed plans submitted by school districts and county offices of education that offer potentially effective strategies for training parents and families of children birth to age 18 to become actively engaged in the education of their children. Requires LEAs that elect to receive funding for these purposes to notify the SPI no later than June 1, 2017 of their intent to participate. Requires adopted plans be posted on the LEA's website. Provides that the funds approved for these purposes will count toward Proposition 98. Amendments taken will:1) Include a focus on parent involvement activities that are more strongly associated with increased student achievement and to eliminate duplicative provisions, and 2) Clarify the allocation of funds will be distributed on the basis of an equal amount per average daily attendance among participating LEAs. Status: Referred to Assembly Appropriations Suspense file on 4/27/16.


AB 2329, Bonilla, Computer Science Strategic Implementation Plan: This bill Establishes a computer science strategic implementation advisory board to develop a K-12 computer science strategic implementation plan. Amendments taken will: 1) Delay the board's establishment until July 1, 2017, 2) Delete the requirement that a CDE representative sit on the board, 3) Require that the SPI appoint a student representative to the board, 4) Authorize the advisory board to report on any other barriers LEAs face regarding computer science education. The bill requires the advisory board to make recommendations in increasing the participation from students traditionally and currently underrepresented in computer science education and professions. Status: Referred to Assembly Appropriations Suspense file on 4/20/16.


Local Control Funding vs. Categorical Funding: Focus for State Ed. Technology funding remains at the local level with LCFF being the major source of funding for Educational Technology. The Governor and the State Board of Education continue to be very committed to not funding any new categorical programs and continue block-granting all education funding directly to districts in order to maximize local control and decision-making. For this reason, there have not been opportunities to pursue State legislation that would set aside funds for any specific educational technology programs or projects. However, CUE intends to help districts with ideas and strategies for incorporating technology into the LCAP as a way to fund educational technology.


Input to prioritize Ed Tech Blueprint and the CUE Advocacy Platform topics: The CDE has not yet provided the data from the ranking of the Blueprint items by participants in the CTO Forum. We are gathering input from the Advocacy Committee to re-prioritize the CUE Advocacy Platform topics. We will report these results as they become available.


We will provide updates on these bills and initiatives as they are amended or passed as well as suggestions on how to support specific items and any legislation relevant to the CUE Advocacy Platform. If you have questions about legislation and policy related to Educational Technology contact the CUE Legislative Policy Consultant at: cradler@earthlink.net