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September 14, 2018
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Announces Proposed Changes to Every Student Succeeds Act Regulations

Changes to be Presented to Board of Regents at September Meeting

Proposed Changes Relate to State Assessment Participation Rate Provisions

30-Day Public Comment Period Slated to Begin October 3

Update: Public comments will be accepted through November 2, 2018

The New York State Education Department proposed changes to regulations to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today.  The proposed changes reflect stakeholder input and public feedback and will be presented to the Board of Regents at Monday’s meeting. If the Board acts on the proposed changes at its September meeting, the public comment period on the proposed changes will begin October 3.

“The Regents and I greatly appreciate the thoughtful feedback we received from the public and the education community on the State’s ESSA plan,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said.  “We are working to ensure success for all New York’s children regardless of where they live or where they go to school. These proposed changes are an important step toward full implementation of ESSA in New York, but the work doesn’t stop there. We will continue to seek feedback and refine the plan to best meet the needs of all students.”

“Paramount to any good public policy is engagement with stakeholders,” Commissioner Elia said.   “Following a thoughtful and productive discussion and considering the comments received, I am confident these changes will benefit students across the state. ESSA fosters educational equity by providing support to districts and schools as they work to ensure that every student succeeds. When paired with the work we have already put in, these amendments will move us even closer to meeting that goal.”

In May, NYSED proposed regulations for implementing New York’s approved ESSA plan and accepted public comment through August 2018. The Department received approximately 1,900 comments in response to the draft regulations. A majority of the comments received focused on the requirements in the proposed regulations related to student participation in the state assessments. 

Based on this input, NYSED made changes to the proposed regulations. Among the changes, NYSED proposes to:

  • Remove the provision that the Commissioner could require districts to set aside a portion of their Title I funds to improve grades 3-8 English language arts and mathematics assessment participation rates in schools after five years of consistently low participation.
  • Clarify that if a school is implementing a participation rate improvement plan and has made progress in regard to meeting the 95% participation rate requirement, the school need only update its participation rate plan and does not need to create a new plan each year.
  • Revise the criteria used to determine whether a school must develop and implement a participation rate improvement plan. Currently, a participation rate improvement plan is required when an accountability group for two consecutive years fails to meet the 95% participation requirement in either ELA or math and does not show improvement in participation rate between the current and prior school year.  An additional criterion has been added that further limits the requirement for development of a participation rate improvement plan to those instances in which an accountability group has a Weighted Average Achievement Index that is below the state average (Level 1 or 2).
  • Revise the exit criteria for Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools (CSI) and Targeted Support and Improvement Schools (TSI) as it relates to participation rate.  As a result of this change, a school implementing a participation rate improvement plan will be eligible for removal from CSI or TSI status so long as the accountability group(s) for which a plan is required are not performing at Level 1 on the Weighed Academic Achievement Index.
  • Remove the provision that the Commissioner may direct a district to submit a plan to convert a school to a charter school if that school is in Receivership or under Registration Review and is not improving.

Additional changes to the regulations are proposed in several areas including the N size for subgroups, school improvement plans, supports for school leaders and parent engagement.  A full text of all proposed changes and response to public comments can be found in the on NYSED’s website.

The Department anticipates that the amendments will be presented for permanent adoption at the December 2018 Board of Regents meeting after publication of a Notice of Emergency Adoption and Revised Rulemaking in the State Register on October 3, 2018 and expiration of the 30-day public comment period for revised rulemakings.  If adopted at the December 2018 Regents meeting, the proposed amendment will be effective as a permanent rule on December 26, 2018.

As the new ESSA accountability system is implemented, the Department will continue to consider additional changes based on public feedback, lessons learned from their implementation, and the ability of the Department to put in place new indicators as valid and reliable data becomes available regarding elements of teaching and learning that are of importance to stakeholders.

Comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through November 2, 2018 and can be submitted by email to:

Additional information on the Department’s ESSA Plan is available on NYSED’s website.

Public Comment Period

Notice of Proposed Rule Making was published in the State Register on October 3, 2018. NYSED will accept comments on the proposed changes through November 2, 2018. Please email comments to

Proposed changes are available here