ESSA: Developing a Plan for Georgians, By Georgians

Georgia’s ESSA Plan Timeline

In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the replacement for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (commonly known as No Child Left Behind) was signed into law. The replacement of No Child Left Behind was long overdue, as it focused too heavily on a top-down federal government approach to education.

ThinkstockPhotos-478141407With bipartisan support, ESSA allows states and local schools/districts to make education decisions that are best for their students, rather than overreaching federal requirements. The new law requires that states develop plans that address standards, assessments, school and district accountability, and special help for struggling schools and students.

As we transition from No Child Left Behind to the Every Student Succeeds Act, Georgia will carefully listen to feedback from all stakeholders interested in making education better for our students. We will partner with educators, parents, community members and business/industry leaders and lawmakers/policymakers to personalize education for students to ensure they are ready to learn, ready to live, and ready to lead.

The transition plan as outlined in ESSA includes:

ESSA does not impact the 2015–16 school year. Georgia’s ESEA Accountability State Plan (NCLB waiver) remains in place until August 1, 2016. For the remainder of the 2015–16 school year and during the 2016–17 school year, we will continue to serve schools identified as priority and focus schools.

The 2016–17 school year will be a transition period with the continuation of our current accountability plan unless changes are required by U.S. Department of Education guidance. Full implementation of Georgia’s ESSA Plan will be effective in the 2017–18 school year.

The Georgia Department of Education is encouraged by the new ESSA law and looks forward to working with all who are interested in helping rewrite Georgia’s public K-12 education plan.

December 2015 GaDOE staff were assigned sections of the ESSA legislation to review and identify major changes, deletions, and additions
January 2016 GaDOE staff reviewed ESSA legislation by Title and Section and shared major changes, deletions, and additions
January and
February 2016
Policy staff shared ESSA information with Executive Cabinet and program staff
February Feedback gathered from LEA Federal Program staff at GCEL conference

  • Suggested stakeholders to include in listening sessions on Georgia’s plan
  • Considerations to think about in fine-tuning accountability plan
  • Recommended venues for communication
March 2016 Executive Cabinet provided feedback on Rulemaking topics to Georgia’s committee representative
Apr 2016 Establish GaDOE ESSA State Leadership Team

  • GaDOE reviews ESSA provisions and compiles list of state and federal requirements
  • Develop and finalize ESSA State Plan timeline and framework; establish working and advisory committees
  • GaDOE begins communicating periodic updates on ESSA developments through webpage, printed materials, and social media
May-Jun 2016 Initial meeting of Working and Advisory Committees

  • Overview of ESSA – federal and state requirements; USED guidance and regulations
  • Working Committees – develop sample questions/discussion points to be used as basis for stakeholder feedback
  • Advisory Committee – develop focus areas for each working committee
Jul 2016 Organize opportunities for feedback throughout the state
Aug-Oct 2016 ESSA stakeholder feedback sessions held throughout the state
Oct-Nov 2016
  • Convene working committees to begin draft language
  • Chairs and co-chairs pull together draft ESSA state plan
  • Presentations to Advisory Committee
Dec 2016
  • Public comment period
  • Governor, State Board of Education, State School Superintendent review
  • Overview to the House and Senate Education Committees
Jan 2017 Georgia’s State Plan is submitted (date tentative pending submission date and guidance from USED; USED must approve state plan no later than 120 days after submission). Once Georgia’s State Plan is approved, presentations will be given to the House and Senate Education Committees.

Note: Timelines may change based on pending guidance from USED.