How CUE Will Help Guide ESSA in California

Earlier this week, the letter below was sent by CUE’s CEO on behalf of four organizations to state leaders at the California Department of Education (CDE). It was crafted jointly by leaders of ACSA, CUE, CETPA and TICAL in response to the CDE’s request for guidance on implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in California. We’ve already received a response and are enthusiastically moving forward on behalf of our collective members. For more information about CUE’s Legislative Platform and efforts, visit CUE’s Legislative Advocacy page. For more information on CDE’s efforts in implementing ESSA, visit their information page.

Greetings President Kirst, Superintendent Torlakson and Ms. Murchison,

CUE & TICAL TeamAs leaders of the four most influential CA nonprofit organizations on the use of technology by school leaders, ACSA, CUE, CETPA. and TICAL wish to applaud you for your leadership in moving swiftly to seek interpretation and begin planning the implementation of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed by congress and signed into law on Dec. 10, 2015.

ESSA has the opportunity to raise our professional development in California for leadership and teachers to levels that would not be possible through LCFF alone. With the implementation of mobile technology and cloud-based resources, the need for a systemic approach to training our leaders and teachers is most important to student success. One of the basic premises of ESSA is “Equity for all students.” In our current situation, only larger districts have the staff and/or resources to offer systemic professional development (PD) on ways that applied technology can raise student achievement. In California, 75% of our districts are under 5,000 students, and 22% of our districts are one-school districts. Most of these district cannot provide the PD needed for staff and leadership. We often have “Random Acts of Technology” in many of these schools, without a systematic approach geared toward student achievement. We would hope that ESSA will help resolve this issue.
photo credit: NPR.org

photo: NPR.org

While ESSA is established to maximize local control and flexibility, the State has established priorities that should be considered when school districts develop their local ESSA plans. These priorities were prepared with input from education stakeholders representing teachers, administrators, and students in all areas of the State and relate to the optimal use of technology to support implementation of the Common Core State Standards. For this reason, the State ESSA plan should incorporate suggested uses of technology within each component of the ESSA plan.

It is also suggested that the State ESSA plan should provide guidance on how ESSA will be linked to the LCFF and related LCAP or to combine the LCAP and ESSA into a single district consolidated plan. In addition, the State should provide guidance on effective ways to integrate technology into ESSA district-level planning as well as a process for documenting the impact and benefits made possible by the use of ESSA funding.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for support and guidance in California’s implementation of ESSA. We have been sending representatives to the Stakeholder meetings and encouraging our members to complete the Stakeholder Survey your office has made available, but as we are sure you know from past experience – nothing can replace the expert guidance from educational association leaders when seeking success in institutional change.
Best –
Chris Adams, ACSA Rowland Baker, TICAL Andrea Bennett, CETPA Mike Lawrence, CUE

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Mike Lawrence

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