Your State ESSA Plan is Approved – Now What?

The US Department of Education has approved thirty-four state ESSA Plans and is wrapping up its review of the remaining 17 state plans this winter. Before too long every state will have an approved ESSA plan, and before the end of the year each state will be issuing its first ESSA-era report cards using data from this 2017-18 school year.

Mission accomplished, ESSA transition finished, right? Not even close.

Now we must turn in earnest to implementation. For authorizers this means making sure you can continue your oversight and accountability responsibilities in a fair and consistent manner during the transition period and once new ESSA systems are in place.

So what should an authorizer do now that the State ESSA Plan is approved? Five places to start:

1. Talk With Other Authorizers in Your State!

Spoiler alert! — They all have to go through this transition too. Share tips and strategies.  

2. Do an Impact Assessment

Use our ESSA Transition Guide to determine what metrics will be impacted, and create a plan to address the change. Did your transition work uncover a data gap? Use this guide and flowchart to get you through it. See this sample to help you talk with your schools about the upcoming change.

3. Get Your Authorizer Toolbox Ready

For help with transitions use our guides on updating contracts and performance frameworks.

4. Monitor the Guidance Coming From Your SEA on the ESSA Transition

If your state report card and accountability systems are undergoing big changes, your state is probably already issuing guidance or drafting regulations to help LEAs prepare for the change. Get a copy of this guidance and review it. If the SEA is drafting it now, ask to review it and offer comments. Don’t be shy about asking your SEA for what you need especially for the transition to new metrics.

5. Review Your State Charter Law to Make Sure it is Up to Date. 

Use our guide on “Keeping State Charter Law Up to Date.” Did you find something that needs to be changed? Let your SEA know ASAP, and contact Veronica Brooks-Uy, Director of Policy at

Depending on the degree of change your state is making, this may seem like a big deal or just another Tuesday. Our ESSA for Authorizers resources are here to help!