Baesler Seeks Comment On Education Improvement Plan

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Office 701-328-2247
Cell: 701-400-8557
Baesler Seeks Comment On Education Improvement Plan

BISMARCK, N.D., Feb. 15, 2017 – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler is seeking public comment on North Dakota’s almost-completed plan for complying with the new Every Student Succeeds Act federal education law.

The plan outlines new strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of North Dakota’s schools. It suggests ways to make it easier for parents, taxpayers and policymakers to find out how well their schools are performing.

For example, the North Dakota ESSA plan includes provisions for a “dashboard” that will allow interested observers to see important data at a glance, such as each school’s student graduation rate, its budget for instruction, and student academic performance and growth targets.

The dashboard offers more comprehensive information in a more accessible format than the “annual yearly progress” reports that were required by the previous federal law. The AYP reports show information about school test results, graduation rates and attendance, and little else.

North Dakota’s proposed ESSA plan can be viewed on the Department of Public Instruction’s website. A feedback form is here. Emailed comments may be addressed to
The plan was written by a group of more than 50 people, including teachers, parents, school administrators, school board members, business people and legislators. Baesler appointed the state ESSA committee members last spring.

The North Dakota plan will be open for public comment until March 15. The comments will be considered when deciding changes to the plan. All comments will be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Education when the plan is submitted for the agency’s review on April 3.

Baesler invited public comment on an earlier draft of the plan in mid-January. The new 30-day comment period will be the final opportunity for the public to offer suggestions before the plan is sent to the Department of Education.

The superintendent said the new ESSA law does not allow the Department of Education to dictate changes to North Dakota’s plan unless it does not comply with the law. The North Dakota plan also is not affected by Congress’ discussions about blocking Department of Education regulations that have been written to implement the law. The North Dakota plan was written using the law as its guide, rather than the regulations, Baesler said.

The state ESSA committee has met seven times since May, and three subcommittees have met 19 times. They focus on teacher and leader effectiveness, continuous improvement, and standards, assessment, accountability and reporting. Baesler said committee members have spent hundreds of hours over 10 months working on the plan’s details.

In addition, the NDDPI held three meetings with stakeholder representatives for North Dakota’s four American Indian tribes at the state Capitol in Bismarck, as well as separate consultations with the Standing Rock Sioux, Spirit Lake Sioux, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. The consultations took place with the tribal councils on the tribes’ reservations.