Disruptive Technology for Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA | EdNet

Every Student Succeeds Act ESSA
By Lisa Gillis,
How do you use the power of disruptive innovation to benefit your company, association or school? What is ESSA and how does it (or will it) impact you?  What does the K-12 Educational Technology landscape look like?  These were a few of the questions that were asked and debated this past week as over 300 education stakeholders gathered at EdNet 2017.
Topping the list of conversation was the “Every Student Succeeds Act” or ESSA.  Driving the dialogue on Monday was a keynote panel facilitated by Chad Aldeman, Principal of Bellwether Education Partners, with featured speakers Kristen Amundson, President and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Education, and Dr.Gail Pletnick, Superintendent of Dysart (AZ) Unified School District and AASA President.  
The new flexibility on the use of federal funds for K-12 education provided by ESSA demands that states rethink how to deliver a learning program that meets the needs of 21st century students who are expected to be digitally fluent to succeed in the global economy.  This will also have an impact on how states spend money on educational technology for the classroom.  
The panel cited a statement from Market Data Retrieval stating that “in the past, we described the three “R”’s of education as reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic but now it is time to discuss a new set of “R”s for education – “redefine, redesign and re-imagine.”  So, how do states and school systems go about launching this new change?
The first step is for the states to submit final ESSA plans to the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C.  The four areas that states and local education agencies must include in their implementation strategies are: fiscal flexibility; a requirement to obtain programs with federal funds that offer multiple levels of efficacy and evidence; inclusion of areas such as social-emotional learning and effective data collection and management tools. Once the plan is approved by USDOE, each district will need to create a roadmap focusing on local policies that meet the needs of their specific students.
During their breakout session entitled “Dealing With Shifting Policy: How New Political Realities are Affecting the K-12 Market” presenters Nina Rees, President and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and David DeSchryver, SVP, Co-director of Research for Whiteboard Advisors stated: “What’s unique about the transition to ESSA, what many districts aren’t aware of yet, is that it is less about the compliance aspect and more about innovative leadership.”  This innovative leadership must start from the top and be especially evident in the decisions that technology directors make on how to acquire the most effective tools to obtain “evidence-based” data.
Nationally, what are the current high priority initiatives of district technology directors without ESSA?  According to EdNet Insights and Educational Technology Trends of the K-12 Market 2016, 71% are prioritizing the development of wireless networks; 65% are focused on increasing student data security/privacy; 63% are prioritizing online assessment readiness; 58% support data-driven decision making; 55% on purchasing Chromebooks and 53% on one-to-one computing devices for students.  93% of district leaders surveyed by Education Week Research Center expect ESSA’s “evidence-based” provision to shift the ed-tech spending to user-friendly data collection tools and partnerships with other organizations. This is just the beginning of the ESSA era and undoubtedly, priorities will shift as program development, evaluation and efficacy results start to roll in.
Need help in figuring it all out? Cimatri is an organization uniquely positioned to meet the specific needs of education agencies with the creation of roadmaps and implementation support. With nationally recognized leaders in learning & development, analytics, journey mapping, technology assessment and cyber security, Cimatri will partner with your organization to guide your way in maximizing the opportunities created by ESSA and positively use disruptive innovation for your highest gain.  The experts at Cimatri can be reached at (571) 249-2719 or www.cimatri.com.