Get Involved in Your State’s ESSA Planning

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Many states are moving ahead rapidly in planning for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA requires that state and district stakeholders—including teachers—be given opportunities to shape how the new law will be implemented. This law will significantly affect science and STEM education for years. Do you know what your state is doing? If not you should.

State leaders want to hear from teachers, and this is a perfect chance for your voice to be heard.

To find out what your state is doing to get ready for ESSA (and how teachers can get involved) begin by searching your state’s department of education website for its ESSA resources and activities. Many states are now holding listening meetings, convening task forces, and reaching out to stakeholders for input. If you can’t find the information online then talk to district or state leaders to find out what opportunities are available and how you can get involved.

Here’s a list of what some states are doing. If you don’t see your state listed here please take a minute and visit your state’s department of education. Questions? Shoot me an email at  Good luck—let’s make sure that the unique voices of science and STEM teachers are heard loud and clear as this law becomes reality.

State Implementation, ESSA (June 23, 2016)

  • North Carolina has an ESSA timeline implementation guide and resources.
  • Wisconsin is hosting a series of listening tours this summer.
  • Florida is soliciting feedback on its state plan for ESSA through July 22.
  • Washington State and Nevada have formed ESSA teams and work groups that will be meeting with stakeholders throughout the state.
  • California is hosting a series of regional stakeholder meetings to provide an overview of the new law, provide an update on the development of the ESSA State Plan and to consult with stakeholders on what should be included in the State Plan.
  • Iowa has created ESSA webinars and FAQs.
  • Michigan is issuing ESSA e-mail updates.
  • Montana created an ESSA Workplan Group to guide the state’s ESSA implementation.
  • New Jersey is seeking input from state groups and teachers to develop their state plan.
  • Illinois held an listening tour during the spring of 2016 to give stakeholders from across the state an opportunity to provide feedback on ESSA implementation.
  • Pennsylvania has convened working groups and has a strategic plan to move forward in implementing ESSA.
  • Colorado’s  ESSA listening tour is over, but state officials are still accepting feedback.
  • Wisconsin has plans for five listening tours (two virtual) this summer.

Also, here are the links to what these states are doing with ESSA:

Finally, a new video interview series from the Education Commission of the States and the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center (BSCP) features interviews with the Chief State School Officer from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa about the opportunities and challenges that exist for states regarding the implementation of ESSA and about the potential for collaboration as states develop their individual plans.

Jodi Peterson is Assistant Executive Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Chair of the STEM Education Coalition. e-mail Peterson at; follow her on Twitter at @stemedadvocate.

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