In a June 23, 2016 key policy letter, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. discusses the importance of stakeholder engagement on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) at both the federal and state level and how this engagement can support successful implementation of ESSA across the country. As states will now have the opportunity to develop a plan specific to their state, collaborating with stakeholders who represent a wide variety of communities provides states with important insight into the educational needs of their students and allows states to take a multi-faceted approach to planning.

A new report from Education Commission of the States, Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement, reviews the topic of stakeholder engagement and provides a framework for going beyond simply engaging stakeholders for input to collaborating with them during the process to help create a plan that addresses the desired outcomes for their state and that meets the expectations of the law.

In his letter, Secretary King states that “the Department [U.S. Department of Education] recommends that States and districts design processes that allow stakeholders the opportunity to provide meaningful feedback throughout the development of plans and policies related to ESSA implementation as well as throughout the implementation of the law.” As part of Education Commission of the States’ ongoing work, this timely report explores the importance of not only bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders  during the planning process, but also the value of creating a process that supports full engagement from  stakeholders to create a successful state plan.

Some key takeaways from this report:

  • Historically, stakeholder engagement efforts have focused on information sharing and gathering feedback, but to ensure stakeholder buy-in and greater success throughout ESSA implementation, embracing a collaborative model could benefit states.
  • Getting the right stakeholders in the room is only half the battle – they need to be armed with strategies to effectively work together.
  • Lack of engagement and bad process can derail or undermine good ideas; conversely, effective collaboration can improve ideas and outcomes

For questions, contact Education Commission of the States Communications Director Amy Skinner at or (303) 299.3609.

Tweet this ECS report!

  • New from @edcommission: effective stakeholder engagement & collaboration for the development of #ESSA state plan
  • Effective collaboration can improve ideas and outcomes. More from @edcommission on #ESSA stakeholder engagement:
  • Special report from @edcommission: #ESSA Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement

Related ECS resources that you’ll find useful:

ESSA’s Well-Rounded Education: This report reviews the components of ESSA’s prevalent “well-rounded education” concept and potential ways that states can support educational access for every student under this new law.

 PUBLISHED: June 28, 2016

 AUTHOR(S): , ,



 STATE(S): Nationwide

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