Since 1953, the State Board of Education, acting as a unit, has been the policy-forming, planning, and evaluative body for the state school program (Neb. Rev. Stat. §79-301-(2)). Although the Nebraska Legislature has over the past sixty years set forth numerous duties for the State Board to act, it is still the responsibility of the State Board to take each of those prescribed duties and set forth policy, planning and evaluation systems to ensure that Nebraska’s school program is the best it can be.
Building an Accountability System is literally, the least we can do. The State Board believes that the opportunity to integrate components of accountability, assessment, accreditation, career education, and data into a system of school improvement and support is imperative for the good of Nebraska students and for the state to have a vibrant and economically successful future. It is upon this foundation that the policy of Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow (AQuESTT) is created.
The State Board believes that AQuESTT include tenets that ensure:
- Every student upon completion of the secondary education shall be prepared for post-secondary education opportunities and to pursue their career goals;
- Results of multiple assessment sources (national, state, and classroom-based) should be used to measure student achievement of college and career ready standards and be used as an integral part of the instructional process;
- Student engagement through positive partnerships and relationships are fundamental to successful school and districts, and the State Board seeks to support schools and districts to implement best practices in student, parent/guardian and community engagement to enhance educational experiences and opportunities;
- Students be surrounded by effective educators throughout their learning experiences such that school and districts develop effective teachers and leaders that establish a culture of success;
- Quality educational opportunities focus on supports for students transitioning between grade levels, programs, schools, districts, and ultimately college and careers; and
- All students should have access to comprehensive instructional opportunities to be prepared for postsecondary education and career goals.
AQuESTT will serve as a blueprint of continuous improvement for each school and district as they are annually recognized and classified as Excellent, Great, Good, and Needs Improvement based on identified statutory criteria, and other evidence of activities of schools and districts to improve student achievement. AQuESTT must be fair, transparent, sensitive to change, and be able to support improvement in schools, districts, and the Nebraska Department of Education to increase achievement for all Nebraska Students.