Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
On Dec. 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law. ESSA is the most recent version of the federal government’s most comprehensive K-12 law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which went into effect in 1965. Below is an overview of ESSA and its key provisions, updates on ESSA regulations, next steps for ESSA implementation, and additional resources.
SECRETARY DEVOS UNVEILS PARENTS' GUIDE TO ESSA FLEXIBILITIES
October 4, 2018
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today released a parent and guardian-friendly guide to the important flexibilities in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The "Dear Parent" letter, written in plain language, was released at a roundtable with parents, students and educators in Mississippi as part of the Secretary's "Rethink School" tour. The guide is available here.
"At the core of ESSA is an acknowledgment that Washington doesn't know best when it comes to educating our nation's students," said Secretary DeVos. "Our focus is on returning power to the hands of parents, states and local educators, where it belongs. Parents should not have to parse through a 500-page legal document to understand how a law or policy affects their children's education."
DeVos continued, "Because states and districts have significant flexibility in how they meet the requirements of the law, parents should know and have a voice in how they use that flexibility to best help their children. These new resources will help empower those closest to students with information they need to be informed advocates as education decisions are made at the state and local level." (Read More...)
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RELEASES ESSA FLEXIBILITIES REPORT
October 4, 2018
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed in December 2015 with broad bipartisan support, reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended. The ESEA initially offered grants to districts serving low-income students, Federal grants for textbooks and library books and scholarships for low-income college students. Additionally, the law provided Federal grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education. The ESEA has been periodically reauthorized by Congress, with the last version prior to the ESSA being the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
The purpose of this document is to highlight basic information about key flexibilities in the ESEA and the Ed-Flex Act, as amended by the ESSA. It does not impose any requirements beyond those included in the ESEA and other applicable laws and regulations. In addition, it does not create or confer any rights for or on any person. We encourage States and districts to share this information with stakeholders and consider how to leverage these opportunities to best meet the needs of their students and schools.
When implementing the flexibilities described in this document, States and districts must continue to comply with Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age. These laws include Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.
MORE THAN SCHOOL SAFETY: WHAT THE HUGE HIKE FOR ESSA'S BLOCK GRANT MEANS
March 22, 2018 (via Education Week)
As part of a massive new spending bill, lawmakers are poised to provide $1.1 billion in aid that congressional aides say will help boost school safety and mental-health resources in the wake of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month.
The money is intended "to expand school-based mental health services and supports; for bullying prevention; and for professional development for personnel in crisis management and school-based violence prevention strategies," according to a House fact sheet.
But the increase isn't just good news for school safety and counseling programs. It also being cheered by everyone from advocates for music education to fans of dual enrollment programs. (Read More...)
LETTER TO ARIZONA FROM SECRETARY DEVOS REGARDING STATE ESSA PLAN
September 6, 2017
Dear Superintendent Douglas:
I am pleased to approve Arizona’s consolidated State plan under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to implement the requirements of covered programs under the ESEA and of the amended McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act). I congratulate you on this significant accomplishment.
My decision regarding Arizona’s consolidated State plan is based on input from U.S. Department of Education (Department) staff who reviewed and carefully considered the plan submitted by Arizona. Consistent with ESSA, the Department conducted a peer review of the sections in your consolidated State plan related to Title I, Part A and Title III, Part A of the ESEA and Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Act. The Department only reviewed information provided in Arizona’s consolidated State plan that was responsive to the Revised State Plan Template for the Consolidated State Plan that was issued on March 13, 2017. I have concluded that Arizona’s consolidated State plan satisfies those requirements. Accordingly, Arizona’s consolidated State plan that was submitted on September 6, 2017, warrants full approval. (Read more...)
APPROVED STATE ESSA PLAN FOR ARIZONA
September 6, 2017
ARIZONA REVISED FINAL DRAFT PLAN - APRIL 3, 2017 (NEW TEMPLATE)
May 17, 2017
In March 2017, the U.S. Department of Education issued a revised template for submitting state plans.
This version of Arizona’s state plan includes additional information regarding A-F accountability and more detailed long-term goals.
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SEEKS ESSA FEEDBACK
April 24, 2017
Please provide feedback on Arizona’s ESSA goals in English language arts, English proficiency, mathematics, and high school graduation rates. Relevant documents are listed below:
Update: May 15, 2017 — The survey is now closed.
ARIZONA SUPERINTENDENT SENDS FINAL VERSIONS OF ESSA STATE PLAN TO U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
January 12, 2017
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that the final version of Arizona’s State Plan in response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act has been delivered to the U.S. Department of Education.
Arizona is the first state to submit a final version of its state plan to the federal government and was the first state in the nation to distribute its initial draft plan. (Read More...)
ADE RELEASES FIRST DRAFT OF THE ARIZONA STATE PLAN FOR ESSA
September 7, 2016
The Arizona State Department of Education released the first draft of Arizona’s State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on September 7, 2016. ESSA, which is designed to replace No Child Left Behind as the primary federal legislation addressing America’s public education system, was passed into law by Congress in December 2015 and will take effect in the 2017-2018 school year. ESSA is marketed as affording states greater flexibility, and the new law encourages states and schools to innovate while maintaining a focus on accountability, state and local systems of improvement and a more balanced assessment system.
Under ESSA, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is responsible for creating a State Plan that reflects a shared statewide vision for Arizona's students and schools on topics such as accountability, funding, school improvement and grant-making systems. To create the state plan, ADE committed extensive statewide outreach and engagement efforts to hundreds of thousands of Arizonans, including policymakers, educators, tribal organizations, business leaders and parents. Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas held We Are Listening Tour events statewide to allow all Arizonans the opportunity to provide their comments in person; ADE is also accepting input on its website, by email or through any of its social media channels. The Arizona Department of Education has already received over 18,000 unique pieces of input that have helped develop the initial draft.
ADE will continue to modify this document based on the vision of all Arizonans and is looking for continued feedback on the proposals. Superintendent Douglas' We Are Listening Tours will continue through the end of the year to give the public the opportunity to voice their thoughts in-person and ADE's website, email and social media channels will remain open until the plan is finalized later this year.
ADE RELEASES WEBINAR & DRAFT COMMENTS ON ESSA PROPOSED RULEMAKING FOR ASSESSMENT
August 29, 2016
As part of its continued efforts to provide all Arizonans with detailed information about the upcoming transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) released a webinar detailing its draft responses to the initial Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for achievement assessments and innovative assessments.
The rulemaking process is an opportunity for both states and individuals to provide feedback on the proposed regulations that, once finalized, will govern the implementation of ESSA. The webinar explains the process in detail and summarizes ADE’s initial thoughts on USED’s proposed rules for assessments.
The webinar is available here.
GOVERNOR DUCEY PROVIDES COMMENTS ON ESSA
August 1, 2016
On May 31, 2016, the United States Department of Eduation (USDOE) released proposed regulations on accountability, consolidated state plans, and data reporting under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The proposed rules were subject to a 60-day public comment period that closed on August 1, 2016.
Following convenings with a comprehensive group of Arizona's education, business and philanthropic orgnizations, Governor Ducey has provided the following commentary on the proposed rulemaking implementing Title I accoountability and state plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION COMMENTS ON ESSA
August 1, 2016
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed rules related to accountability and state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Under the flexibility waivers of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), ADE was able to develop, in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, effective school accountability measures that have promoted improvement in student learning and school/teacher effectiveness as measured by Arizona student performance on NAEP. (Read more...)
NEW: US DEPT OF ED ISSUES GUIDELINES PRIORITIZING HOMELESS STUDENTS
July 27, 2016
The Dept. of Education issued federal guidelines today for states and school districts to better serve homeless students. The guidelines include prioritizing the identification of homeless students, including designating and training a ‘school liaison’ within each district to help provide students with professional development and college readiness. These guidelines will become mandatory on October 1, 2016. (Click here to find guidelines)
UPDATE: PROPOSED ESSA REGULATIONS RELEASED, PUBLIC COMMENT PROCESS OPENED
May 31, 2016
The United States Department of Education (USDOE) has recently proposed regulations on accountability, consolidated state plans, and data reporting under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The proposed regulations were published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, May 31, and are available here. These proposed rules are subject to a 60-day public comment period, with comments due by August 1, 2016. The U.S. Department of Education has provided a summary of these regulations here.
HISTORY OF ESSA AND ESEA
With the enactment of ESEA in 1965, the role of the federal government in K-12 education was expanded. This also led to the expansion of Title I, the law’s signature program aimed at helping districts cover the cost of educating disadvantaged students. In 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which considerably broadened ESEA’s testing requirements and defined specific interventions for schools that failed to make sufficient progress. In 2011, ESEA reauthorization stalled in Congress, and the Obama administration offered states waivers easing many NCLB mandates that penalized states failing to meet difficult-to-attain goals. While providing flexibility in several areas, these waivers required Arizona and other adopting states to embrace standards that prepared students for college and the workforce, along with teacher evaluation measures that incorporated student outcomes.
With the enactment of ESSA in 2015, less emphasis was placed on standardized testing, the federal government’s role in setting accountability requirements and academic standards eased, and states are once again responsible for addressing underperforming schools. While easing many federal requirements, ESSA requires that every state set long-term goals for increasing the percentage of students who reach state standards in reading and math and requires each state to raise its graduation rates. These goals must ensure faster improvement for student groups that are further behind. Additionally, ESSA requires that states consider factors other than test scores in designing accountability systems, such as how many students have access to advanced courses, and how many graduate with college credits.
NEXT STEPS FOR ESSA
Currently, the US Department of Education is going through a "negotiated rulemaking" process on three sections of ESSA law—standards, assessments, and supplement-not-supplant. The Department will continue to issue regulations in the upcoming months that define how states should interpret and comply with the new law.
All ESSA requirements, except those pertaining to accountability, go into effect in the 2016-17 school year. This school year (SY 2015-16), states must comply with waiver requirements, which officially expire on August 1, 2016. New accountability systems must be in place by 2017-18, but the Department still needs to clarify whether the new ratings and identification will be based on SY16-17 or SY17-18 results.
The following graphic provides a detailed timeline for ESSA Implementation:
ADDITIONAL ESSA RESOURCES
For more information about ESSA, explore the following sources:
- Understanding Essa
- Education Week
Inside the Every Student Succeeds Act
- The Education Trust
The Every Student Succeeds Act: What’s in it? What Does it Mean for Equity?
- Foundation for Excellence in Education
Federal Law: The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
- US Department of Education
Transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Frequently Asked Questions
- Arizona Charter Schools Association
Support Webinars: The Every Student Succeeds Act and Its Impact on Arizona Charter Schools
- Arizona Department of Education