On December 11, 2015 President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA will replace the No Child Let Behind Act of 2001.

According to the US Secretary of Education, this new bipartisan law will help ensure educational opportunity for all students by:

  • Holding all students to high academic standards that prepare them for success in college and careers.
  • Requiring that, when students fall behind, steps are taken to help them, and their schools, improve, with a particular focus on the lowest-performing five percent of Title I schools, high schools with low graduation rates, and schools where subgroups, including students from low-income families, English learners, students with disabilities, and students of color, are falling behind.
  • Empowering State and local decision makers to continue to refine their own systems for school improvement.
  • Continuing to require annual, comparable statewide assessments, so that parents and educators have the information they need to make sure children are making progress, while encouraging review and elimination of unnecessary tests.
    • Provide more children with access to highquality preschool – similar to the current Preschool Development Grants program;
    • Spur innovations developed by educators at the local level and evidence-based strategies for high-need students – similar to the current Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program;
    • Encourage States and districts to put in place new supports for teachers and school leaders, including increases in compensation that are based in part on student learning and other measures;
    • Support innovative and evidence-based teacher and leader recruitment, preparation, and development;
    • Support comprehensive wraparound services from early learning to college and career in high-need communities – similar to the current Promise Neighborhoods grant program;
    • Replicate and expand high-performing charter schools for high-need students – similar to the current High-Quality Public Charter School Replication and Expansion grants program; and
    • Provide continued support for magnet schools designed to improve diversity and increase academic achievement.Establishing as part of the ESEA programs to:

Protecting students from low-income families and students of color from being taught at disproportionate rates by ineffective teachers – building on existing State Plans to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators.

You can find the latest information at www.ed.gov/essa or by e-mailing the US Department of Education at essa.questions@ed.gov.