Every Student Succeeds Act Replaces No Child Left Behind Act

President Obama signed into law today the bipartisan supported Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA. ESSA replaces the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act with its overemphasis on federally mandated testing and its punitive sanctions on schools and districts with low test scores.

President Obama declared, “The goals of No Child Left Behind were the right ones — high standards, accountability, closing the achievement gap, making sure every child was learning. But in practice, it often fell short. . . . It led to too much testing during classroom time, forced schools and school districts into cookie cutter reforms that didn’t produce the kind of results that we wanted to see.”

ESSA, on the other hand places the bulk of the responsibility for education on states and school districts. Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers President summarized the components of the Act as follows: ESSA

  • Maintains funding for the students who need it most;
  • Prohibits the federal government from mandating teacher evaluations;
  • Stops the federal government from prescribing high-stakes consequences like school closures and conversions;
  • Opposes support for private school vouchers, portability or other divisive policies;
  • Includes more transparency and accountability for charters; and
  • Maintains certification requirements for paraprofessionals.
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