Some state boards of education are holding “listening tour” events over the next few weeks as they work on their state plans for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act. Many have already finished “round one” of such sessions and are preparing draft state plans to put out for public comment beginning in January 2017.
If you read about PAA executive director Julie Woestehoff’s experience at such an event in Wyoming, you might wonder if going is a waste of time. These events tend to be so heavily scripted that it’s nearly impossible for us regular folks to get a word in edgewise. Also, US Department of Education officials (if any show up) will tell you that they do not accept comments in person and any testimony you give will not be added to the record (all comments on ESSA implementation must be filed through the https://www.regulations.gov/ “portal” and the specific link for comments on each section)
But yes, it is well worth your while to go. It’s always a good idea to get a good look at the folks behind the policies, and for them to get a good look at you.
It’s also important because more of the key work around ESSA is going to happen at the state level, and that’s what states are working on now. In fact, now is probably our best chance to influence state policy, while it is still half-baked.
Not sure what to say? You can share PAA’s one-page ESSA priorities list and talk off of that, if you get an opportunity to speak at all. Honestly, these government types have an odd understanding of what it means to listen.
Listening tours around the US
Here are a few of the ESSA listening tour dates we could find by googling around. You can try going to your state board of education’s web site to find out what your state plans in the way of opportunities for public input.
Chicago: Monday, November 28 from 5 to 7 pm at Schurz HS and Tuesday Dec. 6 from 5 tp 7 pm at Austin Town Hall. Details here.
Delaware: Several upcoming dates from Wilmington on Nov. 16 through Newark Dec. 8 – Details here.
Georgia – online survey available through tomorrow (Nov. 11) here.
Massachusetts: Beginning Nov. 14 in Boston and going through Dec. 6 in Salem. Details here.
Michigan: From Nov. 29 in Wayne to Dec. 9 in Jackson. Details here.
Oregon – Several dates around the state from Nov. 28 on Medford to January 5 in Ontario Details here. .
Many dates we found are already past but other opportunities may come up — most states plan to do a second round of sessions once they have drafted a state plan — and you can also submit comments: