Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders

aspengroupThe Aspen Institute’s Education & Society Program and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have released a new report, Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders. This framework is designed to help states make the most of the opportunities provided in ESSA to advance eight equity priorities that states already are pursuing.

The eight priorities are:

  • Improving low-performing schools
  • Closing funding gaps
  • Increasing access to effective teachers and leaders
  • Supporting English learners
  • Increasing access to advanced coursework
  • Addressing disproportionate discipline practices
  • Addressing students’ social-emotional learning
  • Improving access to high-quality instructional materials

In addition to recommending high-impact state actions and guiding questions, Advancing Equity through ESSA includes substantial excerpts from the statute to empower state leaders to be confident and creative in determining how to use ESSA for equity. Because ESSA leaves so much discretion in the hands of state education leaders, it’s critically important for these leaders to prioritize their most important equity goals and to ensure ESSA addresses them. Rather than determining how to implement ESSA, this framework recommends that state leaders start with their own strategic priorities and then look for ways in which ESSA can close the opportunity gaps that are underneath achievement gaps.

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