Tri-Caucus Members Call Out Ed Secretary Over School Ratings That Omit Minorities’ Performance

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been approving state plans that don’t specifically measure the performance of minority students, arguing there is no requirement for the plans to do so. Fifty House Democrats representing the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian and Pacific American Caucus say that’s not so and have accused her of violating the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The law, passed on a bipartisan basis, contains several provisions that require states to collect data on the academic performance of minority students and include them in school-ratings systems. Those rating systems, in turn, help determine which schools require intervention or aid. Under plans submitted to the Education Department last year, 41 states crafted rating systems that omit the performance of some or all minority groups, such as Black students, children with disabilities, or English-language learners. DeVos has so far approved plans from 33 states, many of which include those rating systems. “Failure to implement ESSA’s equity guardrails that ensure all students matter in state accountability systems will rob our families and communities not only of accurate information on our students and the schools who serve them, but also of the meaningful resources necessary to make meaningful improvements,” the Tri-Caucus members wrote. See the full letter here.

Tiffany D. Cross