On Wednesday August 10, WFIS and private school constituency group leaders met with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and his staff to discuss the implementation of the ESSA, specifically in regard to the Ombudsman role and selection process, to understand how this new position will relate to Local Educational Agencies (LEA’s), make suggestions for a criteria of qualifications, and understand the timeline for the selection process. OSPI officials provided clarity about their interpretation of the new regulations, as well as efforts they have made to engage the state’s diverse educational community and focus groups about the changes to be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year.
WFIS wants to see consistency in how schools across the state are treated by the District and hopes that the new ombudsman will have time to set-up systems that work for private schools and the LEA’s. OSPI sentiment is to have the future ombudsman be a liaison familiar with private schools, knowledgeable about laws and regulations, and involved in communication across the board. Moving forward, WFIS and private school constituency groups will be discussing ideas for the technical assistance private schools will need for reporting, and welcomes all schools involved with Title I and Title II funding to share their past challenges and needs to inform our group recommendations.
The ESSA outlines expenditures for educational services and other benefits to eligible private school children, based on the proportional share of funds received by LEA’s. OSPI Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Gil Mendoza and staff have hosted nine regional forums around WA State where they presented details about the application of ESSA following input received from Senator Patty Murray and other DC legislators deeply involved in it’s planning. The OSPI forums were well attended, with many current teachers asking for less testing.