Devos Approves Utah And California Plan To Increase Educational Flexibility

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Grace Carr Reporter
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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a plan to improve education in Utah and California Thursday, approving a plan intended to afford more flexibilities in the states’ programs.

“I am pleased to approve Utah and California’s plans, both of which comply with the requirements of the law,” Devos said, announcing the plan to consolidate state programs under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “I look forward to seeing how these states utilize the flexibilities afforded in ESSA to rethink education and to improve outcomes for all students,” she said in a Thursday press release.

Signed by former President Barack Obama in 2015, ESSA “builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents, and students across the country,” according to the U.S. Department of Education. ESSA replaced the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act enacted in 2002.

ESSA is meant to give states increased flexibility in how they teach lessons. Under the Act, every state can craft plans that will best meet the needs of students in their state. (RELATED: Here’s How Much States Spend On Education And How Their Students Perform)

With Devos’ approval, Utah’s plan seeks to reduced the education gap in math and english for students between third and eighth grade. The program also aims to improve teacher preparation, licensing programs and performance measures.

“Utah’s plan provides strategies to engage school communities in continuous improvement on behalf of each student,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson.

California’s plan will streamline how local education agencies and schools best meet student needs. The new plan comes after the state conducted extensive research to develop its educational reforms.

“California is a national leader in supporting students with extra needs, providing local control over spending, encouraging community participation in schools and releasing critical information on measures that indicate student success,” California State Board of Education president Michael Kirst said, according to the press release. “Our ESSA plan allows that work to continue,” Kirst added.

“California has an ambitious plan to give additional resources to students with the greatest needs as we prepare all students for college and 21st century careers,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson also said.

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