Baesler Invites Comment On New Education Plan (1)

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For Immediate Release
Jan. 12, 2017
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Office 701-328-2247
Cell: 701-400-8557
Baesler Invites Comment On New Education Plan
BISMARCK, N.D., Jan. 12, 2017 – Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced Thursday that the first draft of North Dakota’s new state plan to improve education is available for public review and comment.

The plan emphasizes the importance of excellent teaching, and outlines ways to help teachers and administrators perfect their skills. It includes information about school and student progress, which will be communicated in a transparent and easily understandable way to parents, taxpayers and policymakers. The draft includes suggestions for how to measure school improvement, set student achievement goals, and quantify and report on whether goals are being met.

Baesler said she welcomes public comment about the plan, which is posted on the Department of Public Instruction’s website  A feedback form is posted.
Comments can be emailed to
The comments will be used to consider improvements to the document. Once that review is finished and suggestions integrated, a month-long formal public comment period will begin in mid-February. Baesler emphasized that the document is a first draft, and that much work remains before it is completed.

“We want to give North Dakotans as many opportunities as possible to look at the plan for our accountability system and to tell us what they think,” Baesler said. “We want this to be a North Dakota-created plan, so we are going above and beyond what the law requires in getting comment from everyone, especially parents, community members, and educators.”

Congress approved the law, called the Every Student Succeeds Act, in December 2015. It greatly de-emphasized the role of student testing in school performance evaluation, and gave state and local education officials more flexibility to craft education policy than they have had in at least 25 years.

Since then, a planning group of more than 50 people, including teachers, parents, school administrators, school board members, business people and legislators, have been discussing ways to improve how North Dakota measures the progress of its students and schools.

Baesler appointed the group last spring. It has met six times since May, with smaller subcommittees meeting more frequently to examine specific issues. The subcommittees have focused on teacher and leader effectiveness, continuous improvement, and standards, assessment, accountability and reporting.

The Department of Public Instruction’s website has a page devoted to work on the ESSA, which is available at The new law has a strong focus on providing students with a well-rounded education, which opens up new possibilities for programs in technology, the arts and other important areas.

“The Every Student Succeeds Act has given us, as North Dakotans, a great opportunity and responsibility to determine how to measure the progress of our students,” Baesler said. “We are seizing this opportunity, and I am confident that our North Dakota school system will be better as a result.”

Baesler praised the members of the ESSA planning committee. “They have worked tirelessly to help draft a plan that meets the unique needs of North Dakota students and educators,” the superintendent said. “Their dedication and commitment is to be commended.”