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Acumen and Unravelling ESSA – a Timeline


Acumen and Unravelling ESSA – a Timeline

Acumen Partners, as part of our due diligence for ourself and our client companies, keeps up-to-date on political and economic trends that effect education and the companies that provide programs for educators.  Our staff has the ability and the capacity to analyze changes and provide warnings when new programs or regulations are on the horizon.  Acumen Partners followed the unheralded adoption of ESSA as it quickly made its way through the legislative system and finally reached President Obama’s desk in December of 2015.

On January 21, 2016 Acumen Partners began blogging about the ESSA program that had been signed with very little fanfare.  We cautioned that the funding would have strings attached and that states control would lead to a large amount of variability and scientific evidence of effectiveness was undergoing a nearly complete transformation.  We warned that companies needed to update marketing materials, retrain sales staff and take advantage of the spring spenddown in 2016.

On February 21, 2016 we blogged about the unnoticed ‘1000 foot’ wave that is ESSA.  We warned that changes were going to be dramatic and unforgiving. Companies who only needed to change their marketing materials were going to be extremely fortunate, but there would be only a few so fortunate.  Professional development would be forever changed, and some products that had been dominant would find they had become irrelevant – similar to chalkboards in the digital age.  We knew this was coming and that the biggest changes were yet to be seen.

On March 22, 2016 we stated that key changes in education, due to ESSA, included funding, innovative learning approaches, teacher training and early education were imminent.  We warned that businesses needed to be aware of educational funding and be able to adapt quickly to changes in the states’ requirements under ESSA.  ESSA would leave a path of confusion in its wake and businesses would have to be able to instantly make changes.

On April 4, 2016, we examined how ESSA changes the K-12 selling equation.  This blog advised companies on the direction their sales force will need to take to succeed in the new ESSA paradigm.  Which sales models would be most effective and how data will become the new capital.

On April 29, 2016 we discussed your core company value propositions and whether they will remain viable under ESSA.  Will you need to completely revamp your product to fit the new dynamic and subsequently create marketing plans specific to every state.

On May 27, 2016 we spoke about how states will now control the grant monies pertaining to the development of Open Educational Resources and how companies will need to formulate strategic plans to compete with the free resources.

On May 28, 2016 we presented an Agile Education Webinar concerning the need to stay relevant and competitive in a changing market.  Jenny House and Steve Rowley talked about what we know and don’t know about ESSA.  We touched on what facts are available and what unfounded rumors were circulating.  How funding scenarios for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 are likely to differ were discussed.  We also predicted the impact ESSA will likely have on your business over the next 18 months.

On June 17, 2016 we authored a blog discussing the effect ESSA is likely to have on the Common Core.  We pointed out that the Common Core was never a Federal program, but was created, proposed and implemented by the states.  The Federal government encouraged states to adopt the standards through grant initiatives but never had any real power over CCSS.  This had come up amidst confusion about the Common Core – Acumen Partners had been blogging for nearly a year stating the fact that the states have all the power over CCSS and always did.

On October 28, 2016 Julie Carter and Steve Rowley spoke on an Agile Education Webinar about the latest ESSA accountability rules and regulations.  They spoke about the ESSA rollout timeline and how it would affect the typical education buying cycle.  They also talked about how evidence of effectiveness is changing things for vendors.  They predicted ESSA’s impact on selling in Q4 2016 and the first half of 2017.

On December 1, 2016 Julie Carter and Steve Rowley appeared on Larry Jacobs’ Education Talk Radio to discuss school effectiveness and how it would be measured under ESSA.

On January 12, 2017 Ellen Cleary Ruane and Julie Carter talked about the impact of ESSA on schools, as it is understood today, with the caveat that it is indeed a moving target.  While the 2016-2017 school year was to be the transition from NCLB to ESSA, it would be anything but smooth including many delays due, at least in part, to the political process.  What would the new education secretary and the new administration do to affect ESSA going forward?

On February 1, 2017 Steve Rowley and Michael Campbell presented on – Making Sense of ESSA:  What You Need to Know.  This webinar included an update on ESSA and the current accountability rules and regulations.  It also included an update on the last of the NCLB funds and how to help educators pay for solutions you would sell them.

Acumen Partners was on board at ESSA’s inception by getting to the root of the inevitable changes and the effects they would have on our industry.  We knew it would be dramatic with many more companies being negatively affected than positively.  We knew that there were a lot of changes needed for ed tech companies in order to stay viable.  We have sounded the warning gong and followed it up with advice to the free world and in specifics to our client companies.  There is a monumental shift in how education is funded and as we are all aware, if schools cannot find funding for your programs your company will not flourish.  Acumen Partners can assist you in getting through the morass and making the changes needed to survive and even thrive.

To listen to the webinars presented in the past 18 months by Acumen Partners – access the links below:

Gloria ElliottAcumen and Unravelling ESSA – a Timeline

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