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ESSA Implementation

For  14 long years, students and educators have lived under the deeply flawed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) returns decision making for our nation’s education back where it belongs - in the hands of local educators, parents and communities - while keeping the focus on students most in need.

Simply stated, the Every Student Succeeds Act will help ensure that all students, regardless of their ZIP code, will have the support, tools, and time to learn that they need to succeed and that educators’ voices are part of the decision making process all levels.

Throughout the reauthorization process, NEA’s priorities were threefold:

1) elevate the voices of educators in the policymaking process,

2) decouple standardized testing from high stake decisions, and

3) create an “opportunity dashboard” to help close opportunity gaps in needy schools.

Based on these measures, ESSA has the potential to be a game-changer.

What Happens Next

Top 10 decisions you need to act on now!

Even after the historic passage of ESSA, the work in many ways is just beginning. Because the new law does away with so many federal mandates on everything from assessment, accountability and evaluation, state legislatures will be playing a decisive role in determining how ESSA is implemented. It’s now up to the states to work with local stakeholders and districts to design, for example, new and better assessments and accountability systems and follow-through on identifying and filling opportunity gaps.

With the bill’s passage, the work is just beginning.  Below are links to our first set of one-pagers on specific topics in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). More information is being pulled together as the focus shifts to implementation.

Check back often as new information will be added regularly.  

Mapping out the new grant structure

While ESSA retains most formula grant programs funded currently, the new law repeals many programs as well and even adds some new programs, including a new block grant, Student Support and Academic Enhancement Grants, that allows funds to be used for many of the same purposes of the programs eliminated. ESSA provides modest increases in funding overall each year from FY 2017 to FY 2020 compared to current funding, but it will be up to Congress to actually appropriate the funds.

To get you started, here are some tables that map out the changes in grant programs and funding levels from current law to ESSA.

SPRING INTO ESSA: Season of Action 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents an opportunity to ensure success for each and every student. This opportunity will only be realized if educators lead implementation, make our voices heard and work with our communities to advocate on behalf of students. Join us!

Sample School Board Resolution: Click here

Want to be ‘in the know' about how ESSA should be implemented? Sign up here

ESSA: 5 Steps to Creating Your Local’s ESSA Team


With Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act, Life After NCLB Begins

On December 10, President Obama, with a stroke of a pen, made it official: the No Child Left Behind era is over. 

Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), one day after it was passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate, which followed broad passage in the House.


Network Letter to Secretary King on ESSA Implementation

Testimony of Beck Pringle on ESSA Implementation

Educators Spoke Congress Listened

Why educators support ESSA

ESSA Comments to the Department of Education

NEA welcomes historic step to usher in new era in public education

NEA president supports the Every Student Succeeds Act

NEA president marks 40th anniversary of landmark IDEA legislation

NEA president encouraged by bipartisan and bicameral approach to fix broken law