On July 14, 2016, Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond–President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University, and member of the Coalition of Essential Schools Executive Board–testified before the full Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee at the hearing “ESSA Implementation: Perspectives from Education Stakeholders on Proposed Regulations.” We’re delighted that Dr. Darling-Hammond will be heading up a policy panel on promising and innovative work at the state level on Friday, December 2 at Fall Forum 2016. We’re sharing a summary of her remarks as well as a transcript and video link to her full testimony for those who are eager to engage with the implications of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) rollout. Many thanks to LPI’s summary of Dr. Darling-Hammond’s testimony, which we have adapted below.
In her testimony, Dr. Darling-Hammond stressed that ESSA regulations must allow for accountability that leads to equity and improvement by providing transparency and clarity for action. At the same time, it must allow for the innovations in learning, teaching, and schooling that are necessary for our national success. Highlighting innovative work underway in a number of states, her testimony recommended ways that the final regulations can support states to develop, implement, and improve accountability systems to ensure that all students develop the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. Dr. Darling-Hammond’s other recommendations:
- Allow states to develop information dashboard that provide transparency and guidance for productive action and do not require accountability decisions to be based on a single summative score
- Allow states to use additional indicators of school quality, beyond those that are federally required, in meaningful ways that recognize and incentivize schools for their progress on these measures. These can include access to a rich curriculum, a productive school climate, and opportunities to learn
- Allow states to use continuous measures of achievement rather than merely the percentage of students identified as “proficient” in order to better measure progress and equity gaps
- Ensure sufficient time for states to plan and launch thoughtful and effective accountability systems that incorporate stakeholder feedback and have the capacity to drive effective strategies for improvement in schools