Every Student Succeeds Act: Promising, or Problematic?
Thanks to a new bill, the past few days have featured more changes to the U.S. educational system than the past 10 years.
Last week, Congress released a fact sheet promoting the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), designed to rectify the failings of No Child Left Behind. The act intends to tackle three main concerns prominent in the world of education today: standardized testing, college and career readiness, and early childhood education.
Through the act, the government will:
- Make sure states set high academic standards so students can graduate high school ready to succeed in college and a career.
- Keep states accountable for targeting the lowest-performing 5% of schools, schools with high drop-out rates, and at-risk groups of students for additional resources and assistance.
- Support state and local decision-makers to create their own effective systems for school improvement, based on research and their specific needs.
- Reduce unnecessary and ineffective testing, so teachers are no longer “teaching to the test,” while still providing the opportunity to collect data for parents and educators to monitor learning progress.
- Grant access to high quality preschool for more children, so they enter the k-12 educational process ready to succeed.
- Test new strategies and replicate those that are found successful, in hopes of creating better outcomes for more students.
On Thursday, December 10, President Barack Obama signed the bill putting the Every Student Succeeds Act into place.
Naturally, the act has been met with the usual amount of hemming and hawing. Some are skeptical about specific changes that may negatively effect certain communities or student populations, others are skeptical about the government’s dedication to following through on the words they’ve heard so many times before.
Warning! ESSA Threatens Special Education https://t.co/CD7NC8vnDS
— MoMommy (@akonormo) December 11, 2015
— Stanford Education (@StanfordEd) December 11, 2015
Then, there are the optimists:
Hallelujah for #ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act! No more emphasis on standardized tests nor one-size-fits-all mandates for schools.
— Karen Thurm Safran (@KarenTSafran) December 12, 2015
Clearly, President Obama agrees with the optimists.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 10, 2015
What about you?
Hannah Nyren is the General Manager of EdTech Times. A Texan by birth but a Bostonian at heart, Hannah is an educational writer, AmeriCorps alum, and one-time StartupWeekend EDU (SWEDU) winning team member. She started her career at a Pearson-incubated edtech startup, but has since covered travel, food & culture, and even stonemasonry in addition to education.