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Nevada’s new education plan gets mixed review from the feds

Nevada’s plan to become the fastest-improving state in the nation in education got mixed feedback from the federal government this week.

Three states — Nevada, New Mexico and Delaware — have gotten feedback from the U.S. Department of Education on their Every Student Succeeds Act plans so far. A 13-page document was sent to Nevada Superintendent Steve Canavero on Tuesday spelling out changes and revisions the state must make to fully comply with the federal law passed in 2015.

“It’s a bit of a mixed bag,” Canavero told the state Board of Education on Thursday. “Generally speaking, I think our feedback is fine.”

Nevada’s plan laid out different metrics the state will use — including English language proficiency, the high school graduation rate and ACT exam results, among others — in an effort to transform into the fastest-improving state on education in the U.S.

Some feedback was technical, including notes related to instructions for compliance that were changed after Nevada and 16 other states submitted their plans on an early deadline.

But one expert said the main pieces of the state’s plan fared relatively well in the review.

“Unlike other states, Nevada did not get called out for its goals not being ambitious enough or not clear,” said Anand Vaishnav, a principal at Education First, a national education policy consulting firm. “That’s an interesting sort of piece of guidance for other states. For the department to have sort of blessed that part must make Nevada feel they got that right.”

Nevada will have to revise its plan to spell out how it will hold nontraditional schools accountable, Vaishnav said. It also will need to establish metrics to measure progress for schools that extend only from kindergarten through grade two – before students take state tests – and alternative high school schools.

Under the federal statute, states have 15 days from when they receive their feedback to edit and resubmit their plans to the department.

Federal officials will review the edits before giving the state a final blessing, expected just in time for the 2017-18 school year.

Board President Elaine Wynn said she would meet with Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s education secretary, next week on a different national education matter. But she said she’d be happy to wear her “state hat” and chat with DeVos about how the state can work with the federal department to improve its educational performance.

Contact Meghin Delaney at 702-383-0281 or mdelaney@reviewjournal.com. Follow @MeghinDelaney on Twitter.

Nevada ESSA Feedback Letter by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

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