Every Student Succeeds Act

Everyone’s talking about the Every Student Succeeds Act, which will render No Child Left Behind virtually obsolete. According to The Atlantic:

The Senate on Wednesday approved the Every Student Succeeds Act, the bill that will reauthorize the nation’s 50-year-old omnibus education law and make the “pretty-much-universally despised” No Child Left Behind obsolete. The legislation, which has already gotten the Obama administration’s tacit approval, is being touted by observers and policymakers from both the right and left as a product of rare bipartisan compromise.

Check out the Act directly, which was passed specifically to:

  Ensure states set high standards so that children graduate high school ready for college and career.
  Maintain accountability by guaranteeing that when students fall behind, states target resources towards what works to help them and their schools improve, with a particular focus on the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools, high schools with high dropout rates, and schools where subgroups of students are struggling.
  Empower state and local decision-makers to develop their own strong systems for school improvement based upon evidence, rather than imposing cookie-cutter federal solutions like No Child Left Behind (NCLB) did.
  Preserve annual assessments and reduce the often onerous burden of unnecessary and ineffective testing on students and teachers, making sure that standardized tests don’t crowd out teaching and learning, without sacrificing clear, annual information parents and educators need to make sure our children are learning.
  Provide more children access to high-quality preschool, giving them the chance to get a strong start to their education.
 Establish new resources to test promising practices and replicate proven strategies that will drive opportunity and better outcomes for America’s students.

The Challenge

President Obama believes that every student deserves a world-class education. We have some of the best schools and best universities in the world – but too often our students are not prepared to compete in the global economy. Since the beginning of this Administration, the President has emphasized that we need a great teacher in every classroom and a great principal in every school. Further, this Administration has stressed that we must ensure that we are doing a better job helping all our students master critical thinking, adaptability, collaboration, problem solving and creativity – skills that go beyond the basics for which schools were designed in the past.

America’s educators, students, and families have made historic progress in raising student outcomes across the nation in recent years, including reaching the highest high school graduation rate and lowest dropout rates in our history, and narrowing achievement and graduation rate gaps. States and school districts that have led the way with deep commitment to positive change – including Tennessee, Kentucky, the District of Columbia, and Denver – are seeing meaningful gains in student achievement.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that President Obama signs today builds upon the significant success of the President’s education policies and represents an important step forward to improve our education system. It replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, which was too often a burden rather than a help to achieving these goals. As President Obama has said, “The goals of No Child Left Behind were the right goals: Making a promise to educate every child with an excellent teacher — that’s the right thing to do, that’s the right goal. Higher standards are right. Accountability is right… But what hasn’t worked is denying teachers, schools, and states what they need to meet these goals. That’s why we need to fix No Child Left Behind.”

Learn more from the White House Fact Sheet- https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/12/03/fact-sheet-congress-acts-fix-no-child-left-behind

Read more on the US Department of Education site- http://www.ed.gov/essa


According  to EdWeek, the ESSA:

• Repeals adequate yearly progress and replaces it with a statewide accountability system

• Maintains important information about student performance

• Affirms State control of standards

• Helps States to improve low performing schools

• Improves accountability for learning outcomes for all students

• Targets funds to at-risk children

• Helps States increase teacher quality

• Supports at-risk populations

• Provides greater funding flexibility to enhance support for students and schools

• Promotes high-quality choices for parents

• Maintains and strengthens critical programs


Check out some of the headlines here:

Click to access ESEA%20Conference%20Framework%20Summary%2011-18-15.pdf




But what does it mean for parents of gifted locally in NYC?  The National Organization for Gifted Children  (NAGC) has provided a convenient NAGC ESSA hand-out to spell it out:

What is the ESSA?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the name of the 2015 legislation that revised and reauthorized the federal K-12 education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Prior to passage of ESSA, the law was referred to by the moniker No Child Left Behind.

ESSA/ESEA is the source of most federal K-12 education initiatives, such as Title I schools, accountability for student achievement, programs for English language learners, math-science partnerships, and Title II professional development. Approximately $21 billion in federal funds under ESEA is distributed to the states and school districts each year through complex formulas based on student population and poverty and through individual grant programs.

When do the new provisions go into effect?

The 2016-2017 school year is a big transition year. Applications for Title I and other formula grants will begin July 1, 2016; other federal grant programs will go into effect in October 2016. State accountability plans will go into effect in the 2017-2018 school year.

Is anything required of districts related to gifted and talented students? Yes. There are two new requirements:

  Districts (“local education agencies” in ESSA) must collect, disaggregate, and report their student achievement data at each achievement level, as the states are required to do.
  Districts that receive Title II professional development funds must use the money to address the learning needs of all students. ESSA specifically says that “all students” includes gifted and talented students.


Is there anything in ESSA relevant to gifted and talented students?

Yes. ESSA retained the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program, which was part of the prior ESEA, and added new provisions that address data collection and reporting, use of professional development funds, use of Title I funds, and computer adaptive assessments.

What else is noteworthy in ESSA?
There are several other provisions in ESSA that support gifted and talented students:

  For the first time, ESSA specifically notes that districts may use Title I funds to identify and serve gifted and talented students.
  ESSA now allows states to use computer adaptive assessments as the format for state assessments used for accountability purposes and authorizes grant funding to states to develop such assessments.
  Districts may use their Title II professional development funds to provide training on gifted education-specific instructional practices, such as enrichment, acceleration, and curriculum compacting.

Educate on the Use of Title I Funds to Support Gifted Students

Nearly every school district in the nation receives Title I funds, submitting a plan to the state education agency to receive funds, which are calculated based on the percentage of low-income students served. Local gifted education advocates will want to be sure to share with district officials the new language in ESSA that allows districts to use their Title I funds to identify and serve low-income gifted and talented students and share strategies teacher may employ to provide appropriately challenging instruction.

Advocate for Effective Professional Development

Local advocates will need to determine if their local school district receives Title II professional development funds. Those districts that receive Title II money are now required to use the funds, in part, to address the learning needs of gifted and talented students. Advocates will want to ensure that the district develops specific plans for its Title II funds to meet this requirement. Advocates may want to share the new language from ESSA that allows districts to use their Title II funds to provide training on gifted education-specific instructional practices, such as enrichment, acceleration, and curriculum compacting.

Use New Data on Advanced Achievement

Districts also will report student achievement data, disaggregated by subgroup, at each achievement level on their local report cards. The data will provide local advocates with annual opportunities to discuss any concerns related to the data and to develop recommendations for instructional change



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