ESSA Update


March 25, 2019


Dear Partners in Education,

Under No Child Left Behind, states were required to provide a definition of “highly qualified teacher.” Under ESSA, states are now required to submit a definition of “ineffective teacher” to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). The OPI is seeking feedback on a draft amendment to Montana's ESSA State Plan which provides a definition for an "ineffective teacher" in Montana. The draft amendment can be viewed at this link. Feedback can be sent to


  • 2015- Montana Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators
  • January 2017-February 2019- Discussions with education advocates and research on definitions across the country
  • November 2018- the DOE published the process for writing amendments to state plans
  • March 19, 2019- ESSA Update and posting of the amendment for public comment
  • March 25, 2019- consultation with the Governor’s office
  • April 4, 2019- at 9:00am Q & A Conference Call: (712)-770-3665 code: 514145
  • May 8, 2019- submit the amendment to the DOE before the May 15th deadline

Current definitions that will be posted in the amendment:

  • Ineffective: Montana teachers who are non-licensed or show a pattern of ineffective practices as determined by a local evaluation.
  • Out-of-field: Montana licensed teachers teaching outside their endorsed subject areas.
  • Inexperienced: Montana teachers with less than one year of teaching experience.


  • State and LEA report cards are required to document the percentages of inexperienced teachers, teachers teaching with emergency and provisional credentials, and out-of-field teachers. Ineffective teacher data is not included on the report card.
  • The analysis to ensure minority and economically disadvantaged students are not served at a disproportionate rate by ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers will be done and a description of the results will be posted on the OPI website to meet the public reporting requirements of the DOE.
  • Data collected in TEAMS and MSEIS is used to determine the number of teachers meeting the definitions of ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers.  TEAMS users indicate whether or not the “Board of Trustees has written policies and procedures for regular and periodic evaluation of all regularly employed personnel in accordance with requirements listed in ARM 10.55.701(4)”. Montana is a local control state and evaluations are done at the local level, therefore, the OPI does not collect data on local teacher evaluations.