How States Can Improve Their Lowest-Performing Schools Under ESSA

The Center for American Progress has released a report on ways that state governments can intervene to help struggling schools under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015. ESSA is considered less prescriptive, allowing more local flexibility, than its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

As described by the US Department of Education,

The [NCLB] law was scheduled for revision in 2007, and, over time, NCLB’s prescriptive requirements became increasingly unworkable for schools and educators. Recognizing this fact, in 2010, the Obama administration joined a call from educators and families to create a better law that focused on the clear goal of fully preparing all students for success in college and careers.

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan policy institute located in Washington DC that seeks to further progressive ideas. CAP’s report is the result of research and discussion with current and former state superintendents, district and regional superintendents, and state and federal officials.

The report outlines seven tenets for state leaders to consider:

  1. Grant districts, and ultimately the state, the authority to intervene in failing schools.
  2. Provide significant resources to support planning and restructuring and leverage competitive grants.
  3. Treat the district as the unit of change and hold them accountable for school improvement.
  4. Create transparent tiers of intervention and support combined with ongoing capacity building and sharing best practices.
  5. Promote stakeholder engagement.
  6. Create pipeline programs for developing and supporting effective turnaround school leaders.
  7. Embed evaluation and evidence-based building activities in school implementation.

For more information, read 7 Tenets for Sustainable School Turnaround: How States Can Improve Their Lowest-Performing Schools Under ESSA

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