Dear Friends –
Earlier today, the U.S. Senate passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as this week. In addition, Congress will likely pass a short-term (one week) continuing resolution to negotiate policy matters that are holding up the final spending bills. We hope to have FY2016 funding numbers later this week.
ESSA is a major win for the charter school community; nearly all of our charter school related priorities are included in the final agreement, and many key accountability provisions were retained in the bill. Please see our press release here.
The U.S. Department of Education will convene a negotiated rulemaking (“neg reg”) process for Title I standards, assessments, and provisions related to “supplement not supplant”. This process will start in February and continue through the summer. The National Alliance secured language in ESSA to require the inclusion of a charter school representative in neg reg. After the conclusion of this process in 2016, states will have to develop new accountability plans to take effect in the 2017-18 SY.
In terms of the Charter Schools Program, we expect new state, replication and expansion, and non-SEA competitions in 2016. The Department will likely run these competitions using the same criteria used in the 2015 competitions, rather than the new law. We hope to get more concrete information over the coming weeks.