Friday, June 23, 2017

State officials cool to school districts’ request to become ‘Innovation Zone’ | EdSource

State officials cool to school districts’ request to become ‘Innovation Zone’ | EdSource:

State officials cool to school districts’ request to become ‘Innovation Zone’ 

Four years ago, eight California schools districts that banded together in a nonprofit organization called CORE received federal permission under the No Child Left Behind Act to create their own school accountability system. Now the districts want the state’s permission to continue their experimentation with measurements of student growth, school climate and high school readiness. And CORE wants to let potentially dozens of other California districts participate in their work.
That may not happen, at least not anytime soon. In a letter last month, Karen Stapf Walters, the executive director of the State Board of Education, was skeptical of granting CORE’s request for special status as an “Innovation Zone” under the state’s accountability plan and called the idea “premature.” As a result, there is no plan to place CORE’s proposal on the agenda of the July meeting of the state board.
CORE includes the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Fresno unified districts, three of the state’s four largest districts, as well as San Francisco, Oakland, Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Sacramento City. Together they serve more than a million students. An additional 40 districts serving 800,000 students are part of the CORE Data Collaborative, in which they exchange data and use CORE’s school achievement measures.
CORE’s leaders disagree with Stapf Walters’ view of their plan and in a letter to state board President Michael Kirst, CORE requested a conference call with him and other board members to lay out their case for inclusion on the July agenda. There has not been a response, said Julie White, CORE’s director of external communications.
Timing is important. The July 12-13 meeting will be the last before the board adopts a state plan that meets the requirements of the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The state plan will explain how to identify and take steps to improve the lowest performing 5 percent of schools that enroll sizable numbers of low-income students. It will also detail how the state plans to spend about $2.6 billion in expected federal funding, starting in fall 2018.
The Every Student Succeeds Act allows states to grant waivers from their school State officials cool to school districts’ request to become ‘Innovation Zone’ | EdSource:

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