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U.S. Secretary of Education Approves Utah and California ESSA State Plans

WASHINGTON —U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the approval of Utah and California’s consolidated state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

"I am pleased to approve Utah and California’s plans, both of which comply with the requirements of the law," said Secretary DeVos. "I look forward to seeing how these states utilize the flexibilities afforded in ESSA to rethink education and to improve outcomes for all students.";

Allowing states more flexibility in how they deliver education to students is at the core of ESSA. Each state crafted a plan that it feels will best offer educational opportunities to meet the needs of the state and its students.

The following are some of the unique elements from Utah’s approved plan as highlighted by the state:

  • Utah's plan explicitly states a long-term goal of reducing gaps by one-third by 2022 in student mathematics and English language arts achievement in grades 3 – 8. The state will annually publish data on progress in this area.
  • The Utah State Board of Education is collaborating with the Utah System of Higher Education and the Utah Partnership for Transforming Education Preparation to improve teacher preparation, performance measures and licensing programs.

"Utah's plan provides strategies to engage school communities in continuous improvement on behalf of each student," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson.

The following are some of the unique elements from California’s approved plan as highlighted by the state:

  • California's new accountability and continuous improvement system provides information about how local educational agencies and schools are meeting the needs of California's diverse student population, based on a concise set of measures that are displayed in the California School Dashboard.
  • California conducted extensive outreach and gathered input from thousands of California's education stakeholders to develop its state plan.

"California is a national leader in supporting students with extra needs, providing local control over spending, encouraging community participation in schools and releasing critical information on measures that indicate student success," President of California State Board of Education Michael Kirst said. "Our ESSA plan allows that work to continue."

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson agreed. "California has an ambitious plan to give additional resources to students with the greatest needs as we prepare all students for college and 21st century careers," he said. "The ESSA plan approved today will support those efforts."