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Dear Parents,

I would like to make you aware of two significant actions that NYSED took this week. Yesterday, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and I issued a reminder that New York State protects transgender students . Attorney General Schneiderman and I vehemently object to the decision yesterday by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to rescind guidance that clarified federal legal protections for transgender students.

Irrespective of the federal government's decision, school districts in New York State have independent duties under state and local law to protect transgender students from discrimination and harassment in their schools and at all school functions.

Separate and apart from existing federal law, New York State's Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) requires all school districts in New York to prohibit discrimination and harassment. The following guidance is available to school districts:
In addition, this week, NYSED released a Survey of Possible School Quality and Student Success Indicators. The purpose of the survey is to gather public comment on potential Indicators of School Quality and Student Success for inclusion in the State system for determining school accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). NYSED developed the survey after seeking input from teachers, principals, superintendents, parents, and other stakeholders.

How to Respond to the Survey

The  survey is available here . Translated surveys in Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic are also available.

NYSED is accepting responses to the survey through March 20. NYSED will review the survey responses and provide an update to the Board of Regents at its March and April meetings.  Based on the survey results, and in consultation with the State's Committee of Practioners and the ESSA Think Tank, the Board of Regents will determine which indicators should be included in the state's draft ESSA plan.

Winter Regional Open Meetings on ESSA

NY SED will provide an additional opportunity for stakeholder and public input at a series of winter regional open meetings from  February 27 through March 17. Individuals who wish to attend these meetings can find information about the dates, times, locations, and other pertinent details on NYSED's ESSA website .

An update on the feedback gathered from the public at the regional meetings will be presented to the Board of Regents at its future meetings.

More information about ESSA, the potential indicators of success, and the survey is available in NYSED's ESSA news release  .

I hope you will consider taking the survey and, if possible, participating in the public meetings. Your input will be valuable as we work to develop New York State's draft ESSA plan.


MaryEllen Elia