Goodbye No Child, Hello Every Student Succeeds

The core goal of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was for 100% students to meet state proficiency targets by the year 2014. After years of false starts, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was consigned to history in December last year. NCLB’s replacement, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), became law on Dec 10, 2015, through a bipartisan effort, and will take effect in the 2017-18 school year. In California, the passage of this act will not change much of what is already in place:

  • States assessments in math and English/language arts for students in grades three through eight, and once in high school will continue. California parents will still get information about their students’ CAASPP scores, and the scores will still be summarized at the school level and at the district level.
  • States must provide targeted support for low performing schools and disadvantaged children. California is already on this path through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
  • States must measure school success in a way that makes primary use of test scores, but success can include other measures, too.

Key features of ESSA:

  • moves past an accountability system that centralized control in Washington.
  • gives states more power, especially the ability to define and use multiple measures of school and student progress.
  • requires school districts and charter schools to use at least 1 percent of the Federal funds they receive under Title I to assist schools in carrying out activities in support of parent and family involvement.
  • puts both the California system of Academic Performance Index (API) and the Federal system of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) on hold, however, ESSA seems to shift federal education policy closer to California’s model of more local control and flexibility.

How to Learn More
The new law runs over 1,000 pages. If you don’t want to read them yourself, the Alliance for Educational Excellence has created a series of videos about the Every Student Succeeds Act as well as a side-by-side chart comparing accountability provisions in NCLB, NCLB waivers, and ESSA. Even popular laws can lose favor when put into action. For a brief overview, you can review the ESSA fact sheet. Happy reading and Happy New Year!

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