Frequently Asked Questions
Click to view our
factsheet with an overview of local impacts of the new federal education law.
What is ESSA?
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a reauthorization of the federal education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). It replaces the prior reauthorization, most commonly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). ESSA was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 10, 2015 and had broad bipartisan support in Congress.
ESSA is a welcome change that provides states with more flexibility than NCLB. Hawai‘i is taking advantage of this flexibility by using our state’s
Strategic Plan and the
Governor's Blueprint for public education to guide preparation of the state’s ESSA plan for federal funding.
Governor Ige’s Blueprint sets forth a long-term aspirational vision for public education and the Strategic Plan is our three-year action plan to progress towards this vision.
In 2016, the BOE and HIDOE conducted a statewide review to extend the Strategic Plan, last updated in 2012, to adjust our strategies to reach our goals. The joint Strategic Plan provides an action plan for supporting success for every student in Hawai‘i and for our state’s future, and addresses priorities for all aspects of education — from student learning to teacher recruitment and quality to school facilities and infrastructure. The updated plan covering 2017-2020 was approved by the BOE on Dec. 6, 2016.
On June 20, 2017, with significant support from school leaders, the BOE unanimously authorized the submission of the consolidated state plan in accordance with the ESSA law. Thus, Hawaii begins SY 2017-18, when ESSA fully implements, with a state-approved ESSA plan. As required by ESSA law, the Governor has 30 days to review the plan. As the state educational agency with responsibility for the ESSA consolidated state plan and its implementation, HIDOE will submit the ESSA plan by the U.S. Department of Education's (USDOE) September 18 deadline.
HIDOE anticipates submitting the state’s ESSA plan for funding to the
USDOE on Sept. 18, 2017. The ESSA law requires full implementation of the federal requirements during the 2017-18 school year.
ESSA is one of the federal laws impacting public education in Hawai‘i. Others are the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act (Title IX, Civil Rights Act), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, and the National School Lunch Act. Hawai‘i’s education budget is 14-percent funded by a variety of federal funds including ESSA.
USDOE has the full text of the law and other resources posted here:
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When does ESSA begin?
ESSA is authorized for federal FY 2017-20 and HIDOE will implement ESSA fully beginning in SY 2017-18.
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How will ESSA change Hawaii’s academic standards?
The requirements of ESSA are:
States must adopt challenging standards in reading, math and science, aligned to credit-bearing college entrance requirements and technical standards. States must also maintain English language development standards aligned to content standards.Hawaii meets the ESSA requirements with the BOE’s adoption in 2010 of the
Hawaii Common Core for English language arts and math and the 2016 adoption of the
Next Generation Science Standards. The 2009 BOE adoption of the
WIDA English Language Development Standards satisfies the requirement for English language development standards.
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How will ESSA impact assessments in Hawaii?
There is no change in federal requirements for testing. (See our
factsheet on student testing.) The requirements are:
States must assess students in grades 3-8 and once in high school in reading and math; once in grades 3-5, 6-8, and 10-12 in science; and in English language proficiency.
Hawaii meets the requirements in ESSA with statewide assessments for students:
ESSA also supports states’ efforts to reduce testing. Hawaii has already taken steps to
streamline the state assessment portfolio. On June 6, 2017, HIDOE informed the BOE Student Achievement Committee that HIDOE would be decreasing testing time as well as the number of mandated assessments. HIDOE reviews its testing portfolio annually to ensure that required statewide assessments are meeting the purposes for which they are administered. In addition to federally-required assessments, schools and teachers select or create assessments to inform planning for learning by teachers, schools, and policymakers and to validate and report students' academic progress to students, their family, lawmakers and the community. BACK TO TOP
What about opting out of tests?
ESSA requires that all schools and the state be held accountable for testing at least 95 percent of their students. States that fail to meet the 95 percent participation requirement risk losing federal funds.
ESSA also respects state authority by preventing the federal law from superseding any state laws with respect to a parent or guardian’s decision on participating in assessments. The law requires that, upon request, parents be provided with information regarding state policy, procedures, and parental rights regarding student participation in mandated assessments. Hawai‘i does not have an opt-out policy and encourages every student to participate in testing to provide information about their individual progress as well as progress of the student's school and the state. BACK TO TOP
How will ESSA impact school accountability?
The Strive HI Performance System is Hawaii's school accountability system designed to meet the needs of students, educators and schools. Strive HI provides comprehensive data on school and statewide student performance. The ESSA school accountability requirements are embedded in Strive HI. Learn more about the
Strive HI System here.
Here’s an overview of what ESSA requires for school accountability systems and how HIDOE stacks up against those requirements:
GOALS: ESSA replaces NCLB’s Adequate Yearly Progress with state-defined goals:
- Achievement on state assessments;
- High school graduation rates; and
- English language proficiency for English Language Learners.
HIDOE has aligned the goals with the Strategic Plan targets and the Governor's aspirations as written in his Blueprint.
MEASURES: HIDOE will use the ESSA-required measures to identify schools with the most struggling students that need additional support:
- Academic achievement as measured by annual statewide assessments in language arts and mathematics,
- Student Growth for elementary and middle schools,
- Graduation rate for high schools,
- Progress in achieving English language proficiency for English learners, and
- Chronic absenteeism, which Hawaii has selected as the school quality or student success measure.
SUBGROUPS: ESSA requires that data on the performance of subgroups of students also be reported. HIDOE will provide data for the following subgroups:
- Economically disadvantaged students
- Students with disabilities (students receiving special education services)
- English learners
- Major racial or ethnic groups of students: Native Hawaiian, Filipino, White, Asian (excluding Filipino), Pacific Islander (excluding Native Hawaiian), Hispanic, Black.
- Additional student subgroups to be included in ESSA reporting are:
- Homeless students
- Migratory students
- Students in foster care
- Students with parents in the military
SUPPORTING SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: Comprehensive and targeted supports will be provided to schools with the most struggling students or struggling subgroups of students. To meet ESSA requirements, HIDOE will:
- Every 3 years, identify and support schools that: (1) are the lowest-performing 5% of Title I schools, (2) have graduation rates at or less than 67%, or (3) have the lowest-performing subgroups of students.
- States also have to identify schools with consistently underperforming subgroups.
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How will ESSA impact expectations of teachers?
ESSA makes changes to the provisions of NCLB that dealt with the definition of "Highly Qualified Teacher" or HQT. However, there is additional guidance pending from the
USDOE regarding clarification and implementation of those changes. In the interim, HIDOE will review the federal criteria for determining highly qualified status and will continue to implement criteria similar to current practice. BACK TO TOP
How will ESSA impact educator evaluations?
ESSA is silent on criteria for educator evaluations. In Hawai‘i, state law, BOE policies, collective bargaining agreements, and memoranda of understanding with the unions provide the mandate and policy framework for educator evaluations (Hawai‘i’s educator evaluations are
EES). ESSA requires that the state report the percentage of teachers who are "ineffective." HIDOE plans to report the percentage of teachers who are rated at less than "effective" on EES.
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How will ESSA affect charter schools?
Similar to NCLB, ESSA also applies to charter schools, since charters are public schools. Some examples of how this applies to charters, include:
- Charters must be included in the Strive HI Performance System;
- Charters must implement the academic standards adopted by the BOE;
- Charters must administer the statewide assessments; and
- Charter schools must comply with the federal requirements regarding expenditure of federal funds.
In addition, ESSA increases funding and makes changes to the pre-existing federal Charter Schools Program — a competitive grant program that supports replication and expansion of high performing charter schools; credit enhancement and facilities funds; and replication and expansion of charter management organizations. There are stringent assurances that state entities interested in applying for the grant must meet, including but not limited to ensuring that charters have a high degree of autonomy that is balanced with quality authorizing that includes assessments of annual school data on student performance (graduation rates, academic growth, student attrition); annual audits of financial statements; and holding schools accountable to academic, financial and operational quality controls.
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How will ESSA impact regulations around English Language Learners?
HIDOE will need to establish and measure long-term objectives and interim progress of English language learners achieving English language proficiency. ESSA also changes the term to English Learner (EL) from the prior “Limited English Proficient,” and folds accountability for this subgroup into the broader statewide accountability system (Strive HI Performance System). There are no changes to use of federal funds.
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How will ESSA impact the Native Hawaiian Education Act (NHEA)?
NHEA will continue under Title VI, which provides grants for Native Hawaiian early learning, curriculum development and more. These grants are competitive federal grants awarded by the USDOE to educational organizations, community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, and charter schools. Applicants must submit their proposals to HIDOE for comment prior to submission. USDOE recently had a request for proposals for the NHEA grant funding.
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How much in federal funding will Hawai‘i receive under ESSA?
Hawai‘i is expected to receive $81.3 million for FY 2017 in ESSA funds distributed to states on the basis of population. BACK TO TOP
Does ESSA have any impact on private schools?
As a State Educational Agency (SEA), HIDOE is responsible under federal law for ensuring equitable services are provided for private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel.