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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: April 29, 2016 09:47 AM
From: Representative Stan Saylor
To: All House members
Subject: ESSA State Plan Advisory Commission
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will create a legislative commission to provide consultation in the development of Pennsylvania’s State Plan as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Last December, Congress passed the ESSA, which reauthorizes the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and redefines the federal role in education. The ESSA, which will be fully implemented in the 2017-2018 school year, affords states new flexibility with respect to state accountability systems, standardized assessments, and interventions for struggling schools. The ESSA has been called “the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century,” according to the Wall Street Journal, and over the next year, states will be working on developing state plans to demonstrate how they will comply with this new law. Importantly, as states begin to craft these new roadmaps for education policy, Section 1005 of the ESSA specifically calls for this plan to be developed by each State Educational Agency “with timely and meaningful consultation” with members of the State Legislature.

In order to meet this requirement, my legislation will create an ESSA State Plan Advisory Commission comprised of members appointed from the General Assembly that will receive bimonthly reports from the PA Department of Education (PDE) during the development of the State Plan. My legislation will require PDE to submit the State Plan in advance to the commission, which will in turn review the plan and submit its comments and recommendation to the department. PDE will also be required to resubmit the plan to the commission, along with any revisions to the plan made as a result of the commission’s feedback.

Finally, my legislation will help to ensure that there is meaningful consultation with the entire General Assembly during this process by requiring the State Plan to be proposed as a resolution and referred to House and Senate Education Committees, before it is submitted to the U.S. Secretary of Education. Once the resolution has been reported from each standing committee, within an appointed time, the resolution will be considered by each chamber, and upon approval or disapproval of the resolution, the State Plan will be submitted to the Secretary along with the comments of the commission, the votes of each chamber, and all remarks regarding the consideration of the resolution contained in the legislative record.

I hope that you will join in supporting this legislation which will surely help bring about positive transformation of education policy in the Commonwealth.

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Introduced as HB2072