On December 10, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Achieves Act (ESSA), a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Every Student Achieves Act replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB). It passed into law with overwhelming bipartisan support. So much so that President Obama was quoted as calling it, “a Christmas miracle.”
Several changes are notable and can be grouped under moving oversight from the federal to the state and local levels. For example, student performance targets and school ratings will be state driven and based on multiple measures rather than set by the federal government and based on tests alone. Additionally, states will develop ways to identify and provide intervention to the lowest five percent of schools.
Other changes remove high stakes associated with student scores as well as tying student scores to teacher evaluations.
On Tuesday night, school board members were optimistic about what this will mean for school systems in North Carolina. And, they were wary about what is yet to be discovered in the new law.
At over 1,000 pages long, it’s going to take some time for all interested parties to make their way through the document. Expect to hear more over the next several months about how states will be affected by changes.