AUSTIN – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) today released results of a recently completed online survey regarding the state’s implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
ESSA, the new federal law governing K-12 education, returns a significant amount of decision-making on education policy to the states. As part of the process, each state is required to establish a strategic vision for public education and develop an overall plan to achieve those goals. TEA is the lead agency developing the Texas state plan.
In an online survey that ran from Oct. 20 through Nov. 18, the agency recorded more than 29,000 responses from parents, taxpayers and the general public providing input on how the state should implement provisions of ESSA.
More than 22,000 of the respondents who finished some or all of the survey identified themselves as a teacher, or the parent or guardian of at least one student currently enrolled in a school. More than 1,000 respondents identified themselves as a student.
All respondents were provided an opportunity to address topics such as measuring school quality, preparing students for future success, increasing access to effective educators and school improvement. Additional highlights from the online survey include:
- What should Texas adopt for its measure of school quality or success?
The top three choices among respondents: career and technical training; student engagement; and school climate and safety.
- How can we ensure that all Texas students have a quality education that prepares them for success?
The top three choices among respondents: focused resources on learning in early grade levels; provide high-quality teacher training and supports; highlight best practices that have increased student outcomes.
- What knowledge, experiences and skills should Texas students possess to be ready for success in college, careers and/or the military?
The top two choices among respondents were critical thinking and development of interpersonal skills.
- What strategies can we use to ensure all students have access to high-quality teachers and principals across the state?
The top three choices among respondents were: increase teachers’ salaries; ensure school leaders have the flexibility to staff their schools based on the specific needs of their students and communities; and ensure that teacher preparation programs focus on the skills and practices most linked to student achievement.
- What are the most important things we can do to improve struggling schools?
The top three choices among respondents were: provide more funding and resources for curricular materials, such as technology; offer incentives for excellent teachers to teach in those schools; and provide more funding and resources for wrap-around services like health care services, behavioral health services or parent education offerings.
Finally, the online survey provided respondents an opportunity to provide comments on all aspects of ESSA, including accountability, funding, school improvement and grant-making systems. TEA will review all input collected during the survey period and consider how best to incorporate these results and comments into the final state plan. A final plan is required to be submitted to the federal government by September 2017.
To learn more about ESSA as well as a complete review of online survey results, visit http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Laws_and_Rules/ESSA/Every_Student_Succeeds_Act_(ESSA)/.