Meet ESSA, the New Federal Education Law

An education reporter offers a very short summary of relevant features of the country’s follow-up to No Child Left Behind.

Liz Bowie of The Baltimore Sun offered a few very brief points on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) at an education policy forum today afternoon. President Obama signed ESSA last week, following its swift passage by the US House and Senate.

The Maryland State Education Association’s annual education policy forum included panels on the upcoming general assembly, student testing, and a long-term outlook in education. Bowie offered her comments on ESSA in her introductory remarks as moderator of a panel, Forecasting the Next 10 Years of Public Education.

Bowie gave a short synopsis for those who had not yet read the 1000-page bill, stating,

  • ESSA gives more control back to the States following its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act
  • The following are true under ESSA:
    1. Every state will have a chance to create its own accountability system beginning in the 2017-18 school year.
    2. States still must test 3rd through 8th graders and high school students on math and reading skills.
    3. States are required to take action to improve the 5% lowest performing schools, though the Act doesn’t dictate exactly what action must be taken.
    4. States are not required to base principal or teacher evaluations on student test scores.

Bowie also stated that not all of the implications of ESSA are known yet.

For more information on ESSA, see the Elementary and Secondary Education Act webpage of the US Department of Education.

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