Last December when ESSA was signed into law, it represented the first reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) since 2001, when NCLB went into effect. While ESSA includes many of the same requirements as NCLB, there is now more flexibility in how those requirements are met – particularly when it comes to state and federal roles.
A new report by the Education Commission of the States (ECS) outlines the changes in the law and answers many of the questions that educators, lawmakers, and product producers have as the 2016-2017 school year begins. The ECS was created by states in 1965 to track policy, translate research, provide unbiased advice and create opportunities for state education policymakers to learn from each other.
Under NCLB, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) assumed a greater role in public education by mandating certain requirements, including how assessments were handled and how teachers and schools were evaluated. With ESSA, the USDOE is stepping back and allowing states to take the lead role in determining how federal requirements will be met – including how failing schools should be handled.
Federal funding is also undergoing significant shifts. Part 2 of this article on the commissions’ findings will focus on that in coming weeks.