The following states have thus far submitted their ESSA implementation plans to the U.S. Department of Education: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee, Vermont and Illinois.
The Illinois plan anticipates that all subgroups of students will achieve at least 90% proficiency levels in reading and math by 2032 (see below). Although this appears to be an ambitious goal, it’s not clear what the baseline starting point will be when students are assessed in 2018 and 2019. In other words, without knowing what the proficiency rates will be in 2018 and 2019, it’s impossible to know if this is a sufficiently ambitious goal. That said, we’ll give the state the benefit of the doubt.
What stood out as problematic, however, is the goal around graduation rates by 2032. The state uses 2016 graduation rates as its baseline. For example, the state expects graduation rates for Black/African American students will jump from 74.6% in 2016 to 90% by 2032. This is an ambitious 15% point improvement and should be applauded. Similarly, Hispanic rates will climb from 81.3% in 2016 to 90% by 2032, an 8.7% increase. Children with disabilities will make a 20% gain.
While the state’s ESSA plan is ambitious for those and other subgroups, it falls short in its goal for White and Asian students. For some unknown reason, Illinois actually anticipates that graduation rates for these two subgroups will actually worsen, with Asian students dropping from 93.6% in 2016 to 90% in 2032, and White students dropping from 90.4% to 90%.
The state actually anticipates an even greater decrease in graduation rates for White and Asian students in its six-year extended cohort graduation rate. Here, the state projects that Asian students will see a drop of 5.9% (from 95.9% in 2016 to 90% in 2032), while White students will see a drop of 1.6%.
Read Illinois’ plan here.