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Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

ESSA Update

"The National School Boards Association applauds lawmakers for restoring local governance and working with our public education stakeholders to end the prescriptive requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act – strengthening the ability of states and local school board members to act in the best interests of students, parents, and local communities." - NSBA Executive Director Tom Gentzel. Read NSBA's full statement.

Thank you Friends of Public Education for lending your voice in support of the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)! On December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed ESSA into law shortly after Congress passed the bill. The signing represents a significant move forward for local governance and NSBA stands committed to working with and through our State Associations for ESSA’s implementation in support of equity and excellence in public education.

ESSA is the modernized version of the 14-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It supports public education by returning decision-making to local school boards, educators and communities. It protects federal investments for disadvantaged students and prevents the diversion of tax dollars for private schools. 

Next Steps

As President Obama said at the signing of ESSA: “Now the hard work begins. Laws are only as good as the implementation.” As the regulatory process begins, NSBA continues to work with local school boards and the communities to ensure that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) upholds the local governance structure in the law and meaningfully consults with states and local school districts during the transition to ESSA. Read NSBA’s comments on ESSA implementation here.

Negotiated Rulemaking

One way to be actively involved in making sure the law is implemented as intended by Congress is through the negotiated rulemaking process. This process requires ED to collaborate with stakeholders to develop the proposed regulations. A committee representing states, school districts, parents and the civil rights community was established in February 2016 to negotiate terms of draft regulations relating to assessments and the use of federal funds under “supplement, not supplant.”  

Following eight days of meetings, the 16-member committee concluded negotiations in late April. Negotiators reached consensus on assessments regulations but dissented on “supplement, not supplant” regulations.  

The Trump Administration and 115th Congress

With the inauguration of the Trump Administration and the convening of the 115th Congress, several changes have taken place regarding the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). On January 18, 2017, the Obama Administration withdrew its proposed “supplement not supplant” regulation that was published on September 6, 2016. Significantly, the new Administration delayed the effective date of the Accountability and State Plan regulations finalized by the Obama Administration last November. Shortly thereafter, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Accountability and State plan regulations on February 7, 2017. The only ESSA regulations that have taken effect relate to academic assessments.  

Read more about NSBA's position and resources on ESSA here