Iowa has submitted a new school accountability plan to the federal government as part of replacing the No Child Left Behind Act.
Iowa’s proposed plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act—passed in 2015—includes state-specific academic goals and methods of supporting struggling schools.
"The main difference between the Every Student Succeeds Act and No Child Left Behind is that more authority is given to states and local school districts to create systems of accountability and support that make sense in the Iowa context," says Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise.
The plan also considers more measures of public school performance when compared with the current system’s focus on reading and math proficiency.
"We are focusing on a measure of post-secondary readiness, and on conditions for learning in schools—looking at things like student engagement, and how students feel about their safety and physical environment in school," Wise says.
Wise says there will be two categories of schools that need improvement.
"Schools that need comprehensive support—so schools that need support across the board, and schools that need targeted support, who have students in specific sub-groups that are falling behind," he says.
Those schools will receive more support instead of sanctions.
Wise says the plan incorporates feedback obtained from Iowans over the past year. The U.S. Department of Education has 120 days to review Iowa’s proposal.