Education has been the bridge to opportunity for millions of African Americans. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is an opportunity to make that bridge easier to cross. ESSA takes full affect 2017- 2018 school year. ESSA governs K–12 public education policy. The law replaces its unpopular predecessor, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), by (1) encouraging a personalized environment that meets student needs, strengths, and interests, (2) removing the federal government’s big footprint in education policy, on everything from testing and teacher quality to low-performing schools, and (3) decreasing and improving standardized testing.
Under ESSA, states choose their own accountability goals. Accountability goals serve as a rubric for measuring student-performance. Previously, this rubric was provided by the federal government. Under ESSA, states have the opportunity to choose their own rubric for measuring academic proficiency. However, states are mandated to choose at least 4 indicators for their rubric; 3 academic and at least 1 of a different kind.
Also, states must identify and intervene in the bottom 5 percent of low-performing schools and high schools where the graduation rate is 67 percent or less. States have the opportunity to set aside up to 7 percent of all their Title I funds for school improvement, improved from the 4 percent required by No Child Left Behind.
ESSA’s goal of more efficient and decreased testing provides up to seven states the opportunity to try out local tests for a limited time, with the permission of the U.S. Department of Education. The law maintains the requirement that states administer annual statewide assessments reading/language arts and mathematics in grades 3-8 and once in high school; science is to be tested annually for all students K-12.
In regards to equal funding for education, the Tri-Caucus, consisting of the Congressional Black Caucus, Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Hispanic Caucus, released a statement expanding on the opportunity of the Title I spending rule in ESSA, stating that, the “supplement-not-supplant” regulation moves us closer to achieving equity in educational opportunity.
Historically, Black-owned newspapers have been the trusted source African Americans rely on to learn about issues affecting their community. The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), consisting of more than 200 African American-owned community newspapers from across the United States, will continue to be a reliable source for information concerning ESSA implementation. NNPA is committed to serving the African-American community. Our service must include a dedication to educating our youth.
ESSA prioritizes funding to highest poverty schools
Funding is not reduced due to poor performance
ESSA includes a pilot program for school districts to construct and implement fair student funding
ESSA encourages states to eliminate unneccassary testing
States’ Department of Education can use “other” nationally recognized tests (SAT or ACT) in lieu of current statewide assesments
ESSA includes a pilot program that allows seven states to develop new assesments that better measure student achievment and progress
States will no longer grade teachers solely on student performance
Title II provides grants to school districts that want to develop innovative teacher quality improvement measures
A change in how data is collected and reported ensures that low-income students and students of color are not disportionally taught by ineffective inexperienced teachers
ESSA is an oppurtunity to transform the way schools are labeled and supported
States must include at least one non-academic variable to measure school quality
School Improvement Grants with one-size-fits-all improvement methods were eliminated under ESSA
ESSA prioritizes community engagement
Schools that recieve Title I funding must have written “evidenced-based” engagement policies
ESSA provides federal grants to Statewide Family Engagement Centers
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