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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the reauthorization of the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the country’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. President Barack Obama signed the bipartisan measure into law on December 10, 2015. ESSA tasks individual states to create a plan to ensure every child is learning and on the path to college and career.​

 Accountability in 2021

On February 22, 2021, ED communicated its intent to make waivers available for accountability but not for assessments despite the continued impact of COVID-19 on education this year and calls from multiple states (including Illinois) to fully waive assessment and accountability requirements. The accountability waiver request template published by​ ED allows states to waive two sets of requirements -- accountability calculations and the reporting of those calculations. ISBE submitted it's waiver request on April 1, 2021, and the request was approved by ED​ on April 6, 2021.

Illinois is not required to:

  • Issue annual summative designations using 2021 data.
  • Factor the 95% participation requirement into academic achievement calculations.
  • Measure progress toward long-term goals and interim targets using 2021 data.

Illinois must still:

  • Report the list of schools identified for support in 2021.
  • Report on chronic absenteeism.
  • Maintain the identification status of previously identified schools for 2021-22.
  • Require previously identified schools implement their support and improvement plans and receive appropriate supports and interventions.​

ISBE wanted to develop a state plan that reflected the ideas of those who are closest to the work and so sought out the voices, values, and vision of stakeholders and practitioners. The participation of diverse educators, communities, and advocates made the Illinois ESSA Plan durable.

The Illinois ESSA Plan represents the belief of ISBE and our stakeholders that the students with the greatest needs deserve the greatest share of our public education resources. Grounding our work in the practice of equity will ensure that we provide all students with the supports they need to succeed from pre-K through high school and onto purposeful lives.

This page tracks the development of the plan itself. For information about Illinois’ active Support and Accountability System, visit Support & AccountabilityFor information specifically about Site-Based Expenditure Reporting, visit the Site-Based Expenditure Reporting webpage.​​​


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