Early-Bird Session: Implementing Principal III in State Waiver Plans

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ESEA Flexibility
U.S. Department of Education


Staff from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) discussed the requirements of Principle III and keys to successful implementation. They also shared with participants the resources available to support implementation. This was an interactive session, so participants asked questions and identified issues to address during this session. Following are some highlights:

  • Patricia Johnson and Christie Imholt of ED provided a summary of the requirements for the waiver process. They stated that the ED recognizes that each state works under unique variables and constraints; therefore, the waiver requirements provide states with considerable flexibility in the evaluation system piloting process. Participants shared that the biggest challenges and concerns regarding implementation of Principle III are validating ranges of effectiveness when assessments change (e.g., to PARCC or Smarter Balanced); calibrating the evaluation system to set teacher benchmarks in a valid and reliable way; making sure there are no issues of legal jeopardy or decisions made before validation of measures; and avoiding financial challenges in creating evaluation systems with integrity without sufficient federal funding.
  • The presenters shared some of the common issues they have noticed across state Elementary and Secondary Education Act flexibility applications, including the variation of legal authority across states (e.g., state boards of education, legislative authority, task force recommendations, departmental regulations); states’ capacity to provide technical assistance to districts and ensure fidelity of implementation; variation in the inclusion of student growth; the variety of pilot programs and use of results in implementation plans; the requirements to have multiple observations and evaluator training; and the specifics of how professional development will be linked to the evaluation system.
  • The presenters also shared their plan for monitoring the approved waiver programs, including desk monitoring, on-site monitoring of early implementation, and progress checks.