Conflicts Between State and Federal Education Laws
State board discusses options to reconcile participation rules in state and federal law
BURLINGTON, Colo. — At its monthly meeting held this week in the eastern Colorado town of Burlington, the Colorado State Board of Education considered options for reconciling a conflict between state policies and federal education laws regarding how to handle participation on state assessments for the purposes of school accountability.
The U.S. Department of Education in August reviewed the state’s plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), flagging a discrepancy between the federal law and state policy. In Colorado, students whose parents choose to excuse them from the state assessments are not considered part of the total number of test-takers when looking at the achievement results. However, federal law says those students should be given a score of zero and counted when calculating the school’s academic achievement. Achievement scores are a component of the data used to determine which schools should receive additional federal funds for help and are required to develop improvement plans.
The ESSA stakeholder group focused on accountability will meet Sept. 21 to discuss and provide feedback on the matter. The state board will consider the feedback and then provide direction on the issue next month.