Get to Know: The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
English Learners and ESSA
Illinois is a leading state with regard to early education and a progressive state with regard to Latinos and English Learners. The state leads with a mandate for bilingual education, which begins with early childhood and a school code which requires bilingual education K-12.
The recent ESSA legislation redefines school accountability for Illinois. Goals within the plan include that 90 percent or more of Illinois students graduate from high school ready for college and career and 60 percent of Illinois residents earn high‐quality degrees and career credentials by 2025.
- Illinois ranks fifth in the nation with an EL population of approximately 10%
- The vast majority of English learners are Spanish speaking (78%)
- Most English learners are enrolled in preschool through third grade and they reside in 82 out of 102 counties in Illinois
Read More about the Forum's position on English Learners.
Considering English Language Proficiency within Systems of Educational Accountability Under ESSA
The requirement for an indicator of progress in achieving English proficiency for English Learners (ELs) must now be included in state systems of educational accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Specifically, the statute requires that English proficiency be addressed in two specific ways within systems of accountability— as part of the state‘s long-term and interim goals, and as part of an annual system that meaningfully differentiates schools.
ESSA‘s inclusion of English proficiency within Title I accountability systems represents a key juncture in accountability policy that provides states the opportunity to define, or redefine, progress in achieving English language proficiency in a system of accountability that considers all EL students2.
The goal of this brief is to first provide an overview the ESSA requirements around English language proficiency within systems of accountability, and then to offer guidance on the ways in which (a) progress in achieving English language proficiency can be defined, (b) these various definitions can be incorporated into ESSA-compliant state accountability systems, and (c) a state can evaluate the validity of a state ESSA accountability system for meeting EL policy goals.
Click Here for the full brief.