ESSA on the Runway
April 4, 2018
The Every Student Succeeds Act—the first major rewrite of the nation’s main K-12 law in more than a decade—becomes a classroom reality this coming school year. With it comes the chance for greater sway over policy for states that have long chafed at what they viewed as an overly expansive federal role in K-12 education. But ESSA, which was enacted in 2015, also ushers in new responsibilities for states and districts, while retaining and updating federal mandates on student testing, school improvement, and other areas of K-12 accountability. This special report, “ESSA on the Runway,” analyzes the state of ESSA implementation on the eve of the law’s operational debut, from teaching and testing to the political pain points that may shape just how successful that rollout proves to be. This 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.
- Every Student Succeeds Act ESSA Progress Report: How the New Law Is Moving From Policy to PracticeThe Every Student Succeeds Act becomes a working reality in district central offices and schools this fall, but it remains to be seen if the new federal law will live up to its bipartisan promise.Every Student Succeeds Act Satisfying ESSA's Evidence-Based Requirement Proves TrickyThe law gives new flexibility on how to make improvements to the worst-performing schools, but the choices must have the facts to back them up.Every Student Succeeds Act ESSA Promised New Gauges of School Quality. Does It Deliver?Chronic absenteeism and college-and-career readiness prove popular as states look to choose a school performance measure beyond test scores and grad rates.Every Student Succeeds Act Making School-Spending Data Transparent and Accessible Is No Easy LiftESSA’s new requirement that districts report school-by-school spending numbers could prove a boon to the public and parents, and a headache for school administrators.Every Student Succeeds Act Treatment of Vulnerable Students Proves a Political Flashpoint in State ESSA PlansThe law requires states to report the performance of students of color, those with disabilities, and others, but advocates and officials are sharply divided on the approaches states intend to take.Every Student Succeeds Act ESSA Offers Testing Flexibility. So Why Aren't States Using It?So far, just a handful are aiming to take advantage of new leeway on how to measure student learning, despite long-standing calls for a freer hand on assessments.Every Student Succeeds Act ESSA Pressures States to Assure All Students Have Good TeachersStates must lay out how they'll make sure poor and minority students aren't being taught by a disproportionate number of ineffective or inexperienced teachers. But they have leeway in defining who those teachers are.Every Student Succeeds Act State, Local Officials Tussle Over Who's in Charge Under ESSAAt issue is just which branch of state government—or even which office—calls the shots on putting the Every Student Succeeds Act into practice. And election-year tensions up the ante.