EXCLUSIVE: What Does ESSA Say About Bottom 5% of Schools: Part 3

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is the third in a series of exchanges with the staff of Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. David P. Cleary, chief of staff, responded to my questions.

What about the bottom 5% of schools by test scores? There is always a bottom 5%. Close them and another group will be the bottom 5%. What does the law say about the way these schools are treated?

States are required to identify the lowest performing 5 percent of schools every 3 years, based on the state’s individual accountability system. From there, a state will decide what to do about helping those schools improve. We ended the NCLB model of prescribing one-size-fits all solutions to apply to poorly performing schools, and we ended the requirement that states determine which schools are poorly performing based just on the federally required tests.

ESSA does not require states to close the schools in the 5…

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