School officials go to Washington

BY TREVOR KEISER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Three Clarkston school administrators along with school board President Steve Hyer got a look at the new federal education law Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) after taking a trip to Washington D.C., March 14-15.
Hyer, Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock, Andersonville Elementary Principal Kim Fletcher and North Sashabaw Elementary Principal Jennifer Johnson met with policy makers to learn more about ESSA, which replaces the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act.
The total cost for the two day trip, including airfare, hotel accommodations, food, and ground transportation, was $2,480, or $619 each. No students attended. The board of education approved Hyer’s trip in advance. The rest of the group traveled within board policy and budget, Hyer said.
On Tuesday, the group met with Alex Nock, educational lobbyist, Megan Wolfe of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Deborah Rigsby, National School Board Association, Laurie Quarles, American Association for Community Colleges and Noelle Ellerson, American Association of School Administrators.
On Wednesday, they met with Congressman Dave Trott, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Gary Peters, Congressman Mike Bishop, Meredith Drosback, The White House and Karen Stratman, United State Department of Education.
The group learned the revised federal law gives states more flexibility regarding standardized tests, teacher evaluation, and school improvement. It focuses on early college and middle college, and early childhood education. In addition, federal Title IV funds allow local districts to implement some of these programs, Rock said.
“In the next several months, the State of Michigan will receive guidance from the United States Department of Education on how to interpret and implement the new law,” the superintendent said.
Administration will use the information to help influence state policy, he added.
Rock said it was an advocacy trip and this was the third consecutive year they went to D.C. to advocate for or learn about federal education legislation. The trip was arranged by Hyer.
“As the superintendent of schools, I appreciate the willingness of our administrators and board members to take time away from their families and busy work schedules to advocate on behalf of our students,” Rock said.