In 2015, Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, replacing No Child Left Behind and giving states more flexibility and local control, but each state had to create a plan to do so. A draft ESSA plan for Montana was released this week by Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. Dylan Klapmeier, a spokesman for the Office of Public Instruction explains one of the main goals in the plan.

"A four percent reduction in the number of students who are not proficient," Klapmeier said. "Our baseline here for all students in math achievement is 41 percent, we're looking to get that up to 55 percent by year six. Our Native American's baseline in math is 17 percent, we're hoping to get that up to 36 percent by year six.

As Klapmeier referenced, last year only 41 percent of Montana Students were proficient in math, while only 50 percent of students were proficient in English. The four percent reduction in non-proficiency is nearly double the goal set under the prior Denise Juneau administration, but some are critical that the new goal may be unachievable. Another major change to the plan is a focus on what happens after school.

"We're giving high schools some points they can use to show what they are doing to get students ready," Klapmeier said, "That's not just AP courses or dual enrollment, some of our high schools have great apprenticeship programs in things like mechanical engineering and things like that."

The full Draft ESSA plan can be found on the Office of Public Instruction website. Public comment on the plan will be gathered through August.

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