In each addition of The Voice, FCEA President Jessica Hiler will provide an update on the current status of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
ESSA was signed into law on December of 2015 and replaced the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law that had been in effect since 2002. Thee new law was signed after unprecedented activism by NEA members. There were over 284,000 emails to Congress, 23,000 phone calls to legislators, and 3,000 face-to-face meetings with members of Congress by our members, all in an effort to enact a new law and undo the damage done under NCLB.
The Every Student Succeeds Act is an OPPORTUNITY, not a magic bullet. Some of the major problems with NCLB that we seek to correct with ESSA is the test and punish culture. Schools are designated as successes or failures based on one single test score. ESSA provides the opportunity for states to engage stakeholders in the decision-making regarding student assessments. To this end, our KEA President, Stephanie Winkler, is currently serving on the Assessment Committee for KDE that will create a new accountability system for Kentucky.
In addition, ESSA brings with it the opportunity to use what NEA refers to as the “Opportunity Dashboard” to hold schools accountable. This dashboard would measure things like test scores, graduation rates, English Language Proficiency, class size, access to Professional Development for staff, etc. to give a more well-rounded picture of the ability of schools to grow students’ achievement.
The ESSA law is very complex, and currently the regulations (the real “meat” to the law) are still being written. As the regulations are released, we will provide additional updates to keep our members informed.