NY approves education plan to submit for federal approval

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A committee for the State Board of Regents Monday approved a plan laying out the state's goals for its education system as required by the sweeping federal education law called the "Every Student Succeeds Act," also known as ESSA.

ESSA was signed into law in December 2015 to replace No Child Left Behind and gives states more flexibility in how they evaluate and intervene in struggling schools. New York has been working on its plan for more than a year with input from educators and the community.

State officials say the plan expands measures for school and student success, and requires school-level improvement plans for the lowest performing schools.

In another action, the State Board of Regents also took a step toward replacing the controversial Common Core standards by approving the "Next Generation Learning Standards."

The new standards are designed to make up for what Common Core lacked, including an emphasis on play for young students, age-appropriate education and flexibility when it comes to measuring students of different abilities and languages.

The actions on ESSA and the new learning standards were taken in response to outcry from parents, teachers and students over testing and school accountability that began rocking the state shortly after Common Core was implemented eight years ago.

Deborah Brooks, whose daughter has opted out of taking state tests for the past five years, says the new standards are incomplete and inappropriate. She says the tests are shorter under the new plan but still the same in content.

"I feel that it is not an improvement because the federal government missed a golden opportunity to ditch test-based accounting measures that were shown to be a resounding failure under No Child Left Behind," she says.

The new guidelines are slated to take effect during the 2020-21 school year. Until then, Common Core standards will continue to be in effect.

AP Wire Services contributes to this report.

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