The flight plans are filed, the systems’ checks are underway, and the baggage—there’s plenty of it—is being stowed, or set aside for closer inspection.
After more than two years of preparation, the Every Student Succeeds Act is poised for takeoff on a course that marks some new, and still to be determined, directions for the nation’s nearly 14,000 school districts, the states that oversee their progress, and millions of students and educators.
This special report takes a multifaceted look at just how ready those states, districts, and schools are to bringing ESSA’s changes in for a successful landing when the law goes into full effect for the 2018-19 school year.
Education Week reporters survey the political and policy landscape shaping implementation of the law. That includes the greater autonomy and responsibility it gives states as federal policymakers ease back on the policy levers, as well as the political tension ESSA has set off among those vying for that new authority.
They explore the pivotal role of data and evidence in turning around the nation’s lowest-performing schools—and whether states and districts are ready to make that information transparent and useful to the public.
They take a critical look at the tentative approach many states are taking to the long-awaited leeway ESSA grants them in areas such as student testing and how to measure school quality.
And they examine what the law means for some of the nation’s most vulnerable students, including children of color, English-language learners, and those with disabilities.
Take stock of the nation’s ESSA readiness. And be sure to join Education Week online May 1 for a free, interactive ESSA summit, “Keys to ESSA Implementation,” in which reporters and special guests will share their expertise about the new law and answer questions about a host of topics.
—Mark W. Bomster
Executive Project Editor
A version of this article appeared in the April 04, 2018 edition of Education Week as Editor’s Note: ESSA on the Runway