Last week in Springfield, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) hosted its third meeting for the statewide Support and Accountability Listening Tour. This series of meetings is intended to collect feedback on Illinois’ Every Student Succeeds (ESSA) Action Plan which uses key learning metrics to assess school quality.
You may remember Stand’s video, A Better Recipe, that we created back in 2017. In that video, we talk about the importance of using multiple measures like student performance and academic growth in key subjects, college and career readiness, and access to high-quality courses including the arts to evaluate school quality. Based on these ingredients, schools are then assigned a rating of Exemplary, Commendable, Underperforming, or Lowest-Performing.
A year after launching the new designations, ISBE is traveling the state to hear about what’s working and what can be improved. The Springfield event was well attended and many of the participants echoed Stand’s opinion that the state’s focus on academic growth was critically important for recognizing schools that are improving student learning. Other participants brought up concerns about the state’s Exemplary designation, fearing it’s too closely correlated to schools that are adequately or above adequately funded. Some supported the idea of broadening the Exemplary category to include mentions of schools that showed above average student growth.
You can read Stand’s full comments here, but there is still time if you would like to provide us with additional feedback! You can comment directly to ISBE here, or if you’d prefer you can simply tell us at Stand and we can work your comments and concerns into our ongoing conversations with ISBE.