By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, July 19, 2016 Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) amended his Executive Order Number 16 so that the Committee preparing the state’s plan to implement the controversial Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) would have more time to prepare their report.
Gov. Bentley said in the new order, “By virtue of the authority vested in me by law, I hereby amend Executive Order Number 16, executed March 14, 2016, and amended on May 5, 2016, to change the deadline for the State Plan to January 19, 2017, as follows: “BE IT FURTHER ORDERED, that this Committee shall meet at the call of the chair and shall develop the state plan as outlined in Title 1, Part A, Section 1005 of the reauthorized ESSA (ESSA State Plan), in collaboration with the Alabama State Department of Education. By January 19, 2017, the Committee shall submit the ESSA State Plan to the Governor, the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Department of Education.”’
ESSA replaced the highly unpopular No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Following the passage of ESSA, Gov. Bentley announced an ambitious plan to be an early adoptee of ESSA.
Gov. Bentley said, “This is the greatest devolution of federal power in 50 years. This is an incredible opportunity for states to take back ownership of our educational rights. As Governor, I am able to bring together teachers, superintendents, early childhood educators, business and industry. We need these leaders’ input as to what works best for our great state.”
ESSA reportedly affords states more latitude in decision-making. ESSA permits the Alabama State Department of Education to distribute Title I funds while allowing the local school systems to determine the methodology used to allocate those dollars. ESSA also provides $500 million of federal taxpayer dollars to spend attempting to improve the lowest performing schools.
Legislative Director for the National Governors Association Education and Workforce Committee Stephen Parker said, “The Every Student Succeeds Act creates a role for every governor to move his or her education system from federal mandate to a state-centric approach. Governor Bentley is the first governor to issue an executive order to ensure educators, district leaders and parents help determine a new direction for schools. Alabama serves as a model for education stakeholder engagement across the country.”
The Alabama ESSA Implementation Committee held its first meeting on Monday, May 9, 2016.
The committee is holding subcommittee meetings in Accountability, Data Collection and Reporting, Schools and District Improvement, Early Learning, Educator Effectiveness, Standards and Assessment and Title Programs.
The first round of subcommittee meetings began in late June in Montgomery.