Message From State Superintendent Christopher A. Koch
Last week I attended the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) annual policy meeting. There was significant discussion on a number of topics, including implementation of new assessments and data privacy. However, much of our discussion centered on the possibility of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The recent election has changed the playing field in Congress, with both houses under control of one party. Many observers feel that this is the best chance that we have had for ESEA reauthorization in years. CCSSO is committed to promoting reauthorization and we will advocate for quick action on the law that was last authorized in January 2002.
We met with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who restated his department's desire to move forward with reauthorization of ESEA. Duncan said he feels waivers have been good not only in providing relief for states and districts, but also in providing new ideas on how to drive student improvement. Duncan seems optimistic that reauthorization is a real possibility in the last two years of this administration.
I was also elected to serve a two-year term on the CCSSO Board of Directors. I was last on the Board in 2011-12 and also served as president of the organization in 2010-11. As a member of the Board, I will help guide the organization as it advocates for education at the federal level.
Fall block administration of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams begins Dec. 1. This will be the first administration of PARCC. The fall block testing is only for the high school, paper-based assessment, with about 3,200 students in Illinois participating.
PARCC released the third edition of the PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual, a comprehensive policy document that provides guidance to districts to ensure that the PARCC mid-year, performance-based, and end-of-year assessments provide valid results for all participating students. This manual is to be used as a training tool and addresses the specific needs of students with disabilities, English learners, and English learners with disabilities.
You may access this latest edition of the PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual at http://parcconline.org/parcc-accessibility-features-and-accommodations-manual.
Have a great week.