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Advancing Educational Equity

Fundamentally, ESSA is about creating a set of interlocking strategies to promote educational equity by providing support to districts and schools as they work to ensure that every student succeeds. New York State is committed to ensuring that all students succeed and thrive in school no matter who they are, where they live, where they go to school, or where they come from.

The New York State ESSA plan expands measures for school support and accountability and student success, and requires school-level improvement plans for the lowest performing schools overall as well as schools with the lowest performance for certain student populations. The plan also includes strategies for supporting the professional growth of educators and ensuring that all students receive a culturally responsive education that supports their academic and social-emotional development.

To foster equity, the New York State ESSA plan:

  • addresses disparities in training for teachers to help them be effective in the classroom;
  • provides students more access to rigorous high school coursework;
  • makes schools equally welcoming environments for all students;
  • increases fiscal transparency in school building spending; and
  • uses multiple measures to allow students to demonstrate proficiency in state learning standards.

The Every Student Succeeds Act provides New York State with an opportunity to leverage significant federal resources in support of New York State’s commitment to providing equity, access, and opportunity for all students. In developing our state ESSA plan, we began by asking stakeholders across the state for their priorities and ideas on key parts of the ESSA plan.

Our mission is to ensure that every child has equitable access to the highest quality educational opportunities, services, and supports in schools that provide effective instruction aligned to the state’s standards, as well as positive learning environments so that each child is prepared for success in college, career, and citizenship.

New York State will take advantage of the autonomy and flexibility offered by ESSA to ensure progress toward educational equity. Among a wide variety of ways in which New York State envisions that its ESSA plan will promote educational equity, we highlight the following “baker’s dozen:”

  1. Publish, annually, the per-pupil expenditures for each Local Education Agency (LEA) and school in the State to highlight instances in which resources must be reallocated to better support those students with the greatest needs.
  2. Publish, annually, a report examining equitable access to effective teachers per district and facilitate the ability of districts to address inequities through strengthening mentoring/induction programs, targeting professional development, or improving career ladders.
  3. Use the Needs Assessment process for low-performing schools to identify inequities in resources available to schools and require districts to address these inequities in their improvement plans.
  4. Reduce inequities in the allocation of resources to schools by districts by establishing an annual cycle of resource allocation reviews in districts with large numbers of identified schools.
  5. Direct additional support and assistance to low-performing schools, based on school results and the degree to which they are improving.
  6. Focus on fairness and inclusion of all New York State students in State assessments through the involvement of educators and the application of Universal Design for Learning concepts in test development.
  7. Leverage the creation of P-20 partnerships that explicitly recognize the importance of institutions of higher education and other preparatory programs to improve the quality and diversity of the educator workforce.
  8. Limit teacher transfers from another school in the district to a Comprehensive Support and Improvement school to those rated as Effective or Highly Effective in the most recent evaluation year, unless otherwise prohibited by law.
  9. Use Title I School Improvement Funds to support the efforts of districts to increase diversity and reduce socioeconomic and racial/ethnic isolation and bias in schools.
  10. Develop State and local policies and procedures to ensure that homeless youth are provided the same access to appropriate educational supports, services, and opportunities as their peers.
  11. Create uniform transition plans for students exiting neglected or delinquent facilities and require school districts to appoint a transition liaison to ensure equal supports for the students’ successful return to school.
  12. Explicitly design the State accountability and support system to require schools and districts to a) reduce gaps in performance between all subgroups, b) incentivize districts to provide opportunities for advanced coursework to all high school students, c) continue to support all students who need more than four years to meet graduation requirements, and d) work with all students who have left school so that they can earn a high school equivalency diploma.
  13. Ensure that cultural responsiveness informs all school policies and practices and guides interactions among all members of the school community.

Together, these goals reflect New York State’s commitment to improving student learning results for all students by creating well-developed, culturally responsive, and equitable systems of support for achieving dramatic gains in student outcomes. Read more about New York State's ESSA plan here.