National Urban League President Marc H. Morial issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Education proposed accountability guidelines for states to consider as they work to implement the Every Student Succeed Act:
“Accountability without enforcement is meaningless. That is why the National Urban League joined nearly 50 civil rights and education advocacy organizations in urging the Department to use its full authority under the law to issue guidance that clarifies the responsibilities and obligations of states, districts, and schools to be in compliance with the intent of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
“We remain concerned about the shift of control over schools to states and local districts, which was authorized under ESSA, despite a preponderance of evidence that shows states have not been consistent stewards of civil rights. Those who argue that there is no need for strong federal oversight, ignore the long history of state and local decisions that have shortchanged the needs of vulnerable students like in Brown v. Board of Education.
“Last week, the National Urban League unveiled its 40th State of Black America report which highlights persistent racial and economic disparities from 1976 to today. While there have been improvements in educational attainment, our research shows that Blacks and Latinos have yet to experience the same rate of educational progress as whites. That must change.
“The Department’s proposed school accountability guidance is a necessary step to enhancing equity and upholding the critically important civil rights protections we fought so hard to preserve. Some of which includes:
· Ensuring all communities have a voice by defining a clear role for parents, families, civil rights groups, and community leaders in the development and implementation of state and local plans, and the school improvement process;
· Clarifying that all indicators in a state accountability system must be disaggregated by individual student subgroups including each major racial and ethnic group and that ‘super subgroups’ cannot be used in place of individual subgroups, to prevent masking of student performance;
· Requiring a review of resource inequities when schools are identified for improvement; and
· Requiring states to provide timely, transparent analysis of student performance for parents and communities in an easy to read, accessible format and assign a summative rating to provide a clear picture of where a school stands.
“The National Urban League looks forward to carefully reviewing the proposed rule and offering detailed comments in the coming days and weeks.”