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Karanja Noumba Crews
Published: 25 July 2016

Will you stand with Teaching With Purpose Inc? Teaching With Purpose, a culturally relevant pedagogy and practice, is reminding educators to teach with the intentions to empower and inspire every student to succeed. This intention is in alignment with the new Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) that was signed into law on December 10, 2015 by President Barak Obama.

This new federal policy has been redeemed from No Child Left Behind (2001).  However, we must act now to make sure the ESSA fulfills its promise as a proclaimed civil rights law. I believe this new law has the capacity to reach its civil rights potential. 

The newly revised regulations released on May 31st take away from the premise of flexibility and innovation of ESSA.

 The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and affords states greater flexibility for innovation and high quality education, while maintaining a focus on equity and accountability.

There is flexibility in measures of accountability within these two indicators only:

  1.  Academic Indicators: These include state tests, student growth or other statewide academic indicators, graduation rates for high schools, and English language proficiency.
  2.  Measure of School Quality and Student Success: This will include at least one indicator determined by the state, e.g. student engagement, access to advanced coursework, and school climate.

However, the new revised regulations will require much and undermine innovation. 

With the newly revised regulations, states must:

  •  Administer a single summative assessment with a 95% participation rate; 
  •  Provide schools a summative rating of overall standing;
  •  Implement new systems for evaluating school progress and identifying schools for assistance by SY2017-18, a very short timeline.

The new regulations are keeping us from begin innovative. 

We have to make sure innovation will carry our country into the 21st century in teaching and learning. We have to make sure accountability will lead to equity. As a state and a nation, we have to focus on the opportunities ESSA provides for us.

ESSA creates opportunities for states to design accountability systems that provide a more comprehensive picture of student outcomes and opportunities to learn. 

As a parent with children in public schools, as a former successful classroom teacher for over 10 years, and as an educator advocating for educational equity, I have a question for you: 

Will you stand with me? Ensure the goal of ESSA remains a more holistic approach to accountability by encouraging multiple measures of school and student success. I urge you submit a public comment addressing these concerns (submit here). 

Oregon is in the process of establishing its new plan to implement ESSA. You can find updates HERE.

Teaching With Purpose is advocating for use of the current Oregon equity laws as an equity index for an accountability indicator. 


Karanja Crews advocates for education equity through Teaching With Purpose, a culturally relevant pedagogy. The 7th Annual Teaching With Purpose Conference will take place at Parkrose Middle School, October 14-15th, 2016. 

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