ESSA Passed, So What’s Next?

Recently the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed Congress, replacing the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2002. The U.S. Department of Education is now faced with the tricky task of regulating the law, which goes into effect for the 2017-2018 school year. ESSA will have significant implications nationally and at the state level for early childhood and k-12 education.

These articles from Alyson Klein (k-12 focused) and Christina A. Samuels (early childhood focused) in Education Week explores the challenges of turning the law into regulations that “strike a delicate balance between handing power over to the states and reining in the Education Department. . . while also ensuring there some ‘guardrails’ are in place to help struggling schools and traditionally overlooked groups of students.”

Among the many considerations are:

  • How the law will shift significant decision-making and authority from the federal level to states.
  • Whether the negotiated rulemaking process for standards, assessments, and rules regarding how federal aid can or can’t replace state and local funds will be successful or if Congress will need to review regulations before they take effect.
  • How the U.S. Education Department will go about the creation of the newly created literacy grant program that will help states develop or enhance comprehensive literacy-instruction plans that ensure high-quality instruction and effective strategies in reading and writing for children from early childhood through grade 12.

One thing is for sure: Congress will be watching closely to ensure that regulation and implementation are moving forward as the law intended. Regulators are considering concerns from state schools chiefs, teachers’ unions, child care providers, the civil rights community, and others. ACS advocates for equitable, high-quality public education for all students through its work through The Ohio 8 Coalition, which enrolls 11% of Ohio students attending public schools, and through the support of PRE4CLE’s efforts to rapidly increase access to high-quality preschool in Cleveland.

The advocacy experts at ACS are working with high profile early childhood and K-12 clients including The Ohio 8 Coalition, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and PRE4CLE. In the coming months we will monitor the continued evolution of ESSA to fully understand its policy and political implications of ESSA and to best define advocacy activities related to the legislation. If you need help having your concerns heard, or if you have questions on how ESSA will impact your school district or organization, ACS can help.

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