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The Every Student Succeeds Act is the long-awaited rewrite of the main federal law for K-12 education, and replaces the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act.The bipartisan measure, signed into law by President Barack Obama in December, seeks to rectify the biggest complaint about NCLB: that it gave too much power to the federal government when it comes to holding schools accountable for student performance.In addition, the federal law retains a mandate for science testing at least once in each grade span – 3 through 5, 6 through 9, and 10 through 12.
And just like under NCLB, states must break out the results by different subgroups of students: English language learners, students with disabilities, racial minorities, and those from low-income families.
States and districts still must intervene in schools that are struggling.
States that wanted waivers also had to adopt the Common Core State Standards, or get their institutions of higher education to agree that their standards would get students ready for postsecondary education and training.
Forty-two states and the District of Columbia ended up taking the department up on the waiver offer. Department of Education to help find a way to overhaul the law.
After several years, it became clear that no state was going to get all its students to the proficiency level by 2013-14.
Eventually, nearly every school would be considered a “failure” in the eyes of the law.
But the waivers, too, were plagued with complaints about federal overreach. ESSA ultimately passed with broad, bipartisan support thanks to the efforts of a quartet of lawmakers: Sens.
Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Reps. In fact, the measure was backed by a majority of both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, a rare feat given the polarized politics in Washington.
Although President Obama has signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, it’s going to take some time before the new law takes full effect. Department of Education will spend the next year writing federal regulations for the new law, and helping states with implementation.
NCLB waivers expire on August 1, 2016, and states aren’t supposed to have new accountability and spending plans in place until the 2017-18 school year. There are some ambiguous phrases in the new federal law, and some unanswered questions. The assessment schedule for reading and math is the same as under NCLB, as indicated above.