ESSA Explained: Inside the New Federal K-12 Law
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ESSA Explained: Inside the New Federal K-12 Law


– You’ve probably heard
of No Child Left Behind, the federal education law that’s been on the books since 2002. The era of No Child Left Behind, a law a lot of people really hated, is over and the Every Student Succeeds Act has replaced it. There are a lot of questions now about how ESSA, as it’s called, will work. – So how is ESSA different from the No Child Left Behind Act? – So No Child Left
Behind put a lot of power in the hands of the federal government. They were kind of the
big dog on the block. And Essa seeks to really roll
that back, roll that back, (rewinding sounds) giving states and school districts the chance to call the shots on things like testing, teacher quality, and fixing failing schools. – [Voiceover] No Child
Left Behind is working. – This bills makes long overdue fixes to the last education law. – Do kids still have to
take tests every year? – So let me think about that. Yes, kids still have to take yearly tests in reading and math in
grades three through eight plus one time in high schools and schools still have
to report test scores. – How does ESSA rate schools differently? – Good question. So even though kids still have
to take those yearly tests, ESSA wants states to look at
a broader range of factors. States have to pick at
least one other indicator that gets at whether kids have the opportunity to learn. That could be access
to advanced coursework, maybe school climate, plus ESSA gives states
a lot more flexibility when it comes to the tests themselves. Districts could decide
that high school kids use the SAT or the ACT
instead of the state exam. Plus, under ESSA, a handful of states can experiment with new forms of testing, allowing students to work
together on performance tasks instead of those fill in the bubble tests that we’re all used to. – What kinds of requirements
does ESSA have for teachers? – So under No Child Left Behind, teachers had to be highly qualified. That meant that they had to
have a bacherlor’s degree in the subject they were teaching plus state certification. A few years ago, the Education Department gave states some wiggle
room on that requirement as long as they promised
to evaluate teachers in part based on student test scores. As it ended up, though, a lot of teachers found that frustrating. It was really hard to get
those evaluations right. Under the new law now, states
are in the driver’s seat when it comes to teachers. They can decide if they want
to stick with highly qualified or those evaluations based on test scores, but they don’t have to do either. – And what does ESSA say
about the common core? – So ESSA says states must set standards that get students ready for college without the need to take remedial courses. But the federal government
can’t tell states what their standards should be or encourage them to adopt
a certain set of standards, including the common core. – What does ESSA say about
low-performing schools? – States will still
have to identify and fix the bottom five percent of schools and those with really high dropout rates. – Hold on a moment. Has
ESSA already hit schools? – Not quite yet. It won’t be fully in place
until the 2017-2018 school year. (applause) Many of the decisions about how to just student performance, improve schools, and hold teachers accountable, are going to have to be made
by states and districts. If they choose to stick
with what they’re doing now, things aren’t going to change very much. If they go off in a very
different direction though, we could see big changes.

About James Carlton

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10 thoughts on “ESSA Explained: Inside the New Federal K-12 Law

  1. It is not over. It is worse now than ever. The states will be required to submit their education plans and standards to the US Dept of Ed. If standards are not aligned to Common Core the state could lose federal funds if they don't update their plan and align with Common Core. The only difference with ESSA and NCLB is the states get more authority to implement the federal mandates. In reading this bill it appears to be more of a mental health bill than and education bill. the SAT and ACT are aligned with Common Core. ESSA codifies Common Core (College and Career Ready Standards) into federal law. You might be sucked in by the lies but most of us that have done some unbiased research see the scam.

  2. This is a good summary. Problem now is that proposed budget significantly damages the possibilities under the law. Congress must try to salvage their hard work in getting ESSA done. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray will still play key roles.

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