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Every Student Succeeds Act

Quality Counts Offers All You Need to Know About ESSA at the One-Year Mark

By Alyson Klein — January 04, 2017 1 min read

It’s been just over a year since President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, the main federal K-12 law, which touches on testing, accountability, standards, teachers, school turnarounds, and more.

Having trouble keeping track of what’s been happening on all of those very different fronts? Education Week has you covered in this year’s annual Quality Counts edition, “Under Construction: Building on ESSA’s K-12 Foundation.”

First, check out an overview of what has happened so far at the state and federal levels. What are state leaders thinking in terms of implementation and how might the incoming Trump administration throw a curveball into their plans?

ESSA asks a lot of state education agencies that historically have struggled with capacity issues. Are states ready for the big job ahead of them? Daarel Burnette II explains.

States have spent months and months getting a sense of what teachers, parents, school superintendents, and civil rights organizations want out of their ESSA plans. But has this resulted in “meaningful stakeholder engagement” or just going through the motions? Short answer: It depends on the state, your own definition of “meaningful engagement,” and more. Longer answer here from Denisa R. Superville.

One of the biggest changes under ESSA is that states now have to move beyond test scores in gauging school performance, considering other factors like social and emotional learning or school climate. But figuring out how to hold schools accountable for those new indicators isn’t as easy as it sounds, reports Evie Blad.

And ESSA included more than just flexibility on accountability; it also has some new leeway for states and districts when it comes to federal funding. But will local leaders have the resources necessary to make the most of those provisions? Andrew Ujifusa takes a look.

There’s even more in the report on how ESSA will shape teacher policy, testing, and instruction for English-language learners. See a list of all the stories here.

Done digesting all of that and still have questions about ESSA? You’re in luck. Education Week is holding an online “summit” on the law on Feb. 1. You can visit various chat rooms and ask reporters and experts about aspects of the law that continue to mystify you. Everything you need to know about the summit here.