The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, enacted by President Lyndon Johnson was an education civil rights law. It provided funding to states and ensured every student had access to education. A part of this act was requiring Congress to re-examine the law every three to five years. This ensured the needs of the education realm were being met in the best way. A product of this act is the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), enacted in 2002. It has long been criticized for a heavy emphasis on testing and accountability coming from the beyond the local and state level. Since NCLB was up for re-examination, lawmakers decided to make a shift in focus from nationwide to state and local authority.
ESSA is being touted as a more flexible approach to student testing and accountability. High standards are the main goal, as they were with NCLB, and many specifics, such as accountability goals, interventions within underperforming schools and testing will be left up to each state and district. This doesn’t mean that testing will not be required by law; ESSA is simply giving states more flexibility in how and when they administer tests.
For more specific information on ESSA, the White House has condensed it’s 1,000+ page document into a ten page progress report. You can also access this OAPCS article to see the impact ESSA will have on charter schools in the future.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on ESSA and the changes to come this next school year! You can find us on Facebook and Twitter (@OhioeSchools), or feel free to leave a comment below.