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President Signs New Education Bill: ESSA

The Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 was a civil rights law designed to help districts with low-income students, provided money for textbooks and libraries and provided the first funding for special education. No Child Left Behind was the 2001 version and now ESSA, Every Student Succeeds Act is the 2015 version of this law. Here is what the Federal government is saying at the US Department of Education:

ESSA includes provisions that will help to ensure success for students and schools. Below are just a few. The law:

  • Advances equity by upholding critical protections for America’s disadvantaged and high-need students.
  • Requires—for the first time—that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers.
  • Ensures that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students’ progress toward those high standards.
  • Helps to support and grow local innovations—including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators—consistent with our Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods
  • Sustains and expands this administration’s historic investments in increasing access to high-quality preschool.
  • Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time.

I encourage every reader to take a look at this new bill. As one student I am teaching asked me online yesterday, is this really new or trending? And I answered yes, this is updated ideas for improving our school system embedded in a new law with ideas that have been around for a few years. The previous law has not been updated in 15 years! SO, how can we tell this is important? Look at the way in which the law reduces the federal government over-reach into schools by reducing the burden of testing. Look at the emphasis in the new bill on college readiness, career readiness, and protections for disadvantaged students. Most importantly look at how the new bill emphasizes professional development, local innovation and local testing. Check out the Department of Education to get a start and read on…older ideas are now solidified in new law for the betterment of all K-12 students.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

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