every_student_succeeds_bill_signingThe Every Student Succeeds Act: ESSA Begins

On December 10, 2015 President Obama signed into effect the reauthorization of the 50 year old Elementary and Secondary Education Act known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA ends a troublesome era of No Child Left Behind where a one-size-fit-all approach to testing, teaching and school improvement dominated our professional landscape placing unrealistic pressures on our most vulnerable students and those who serve them. Watch the signing video.

Under ESSA the responsibilities for school improvement are transferred to the state and local levels greatly reducing federal influences on local school decision making. This change is designed to honor the voice and expertise of those who know the names, strengths and learning needs of the children in their school: parents, teachers, counselors, para educators and administrators, not politicians and corporate lobbyists.

In Wisconsin we must work together to defeat bad ideas, policies, and laws at all levels that do not benefit our students. The Wisconsin Education Association Council is committed to providing its members and partners with the resources needed to take full advantage of implementing the required engagement provisions under the ESSA law. This will help assure a child’s race, income, zip code, disability, home language or background do not determine the quality of education they receive.

Use the WEAC Digital Toolkit to make ESSA work for students in your school:

  1. 5 Steps to Plugging into Your District’s ESSA Team (pdf)
  2. Invitation Letter for Members (Word)
  3. Invitation Letter to Stakeholders (Word)
  4. School Board Speech (Word)
  5. School Board Resolution (Word)
  6. 10-Minute PowerPoint (ppt)

ESSA Podcasts:

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  • Legislative Update – April 28

    The Assembly on Tuesday has several items on the docket, including a broadband expansion bill, as well as legislation that would give lawmakers direct oversight on how the state plans to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. And the Joint Finance Committee is preparing to begin votes on Monday. Other topics covered in this week’s wrap-up include: voucher accountability, mental health, campus speech, child labor, prevailing wage, school referendums, and more. Read More...
  • Legislative Update – April 24

    Bill increases state aid for special education and school age parents programs to no less than 33 percent of the school district’s costs … Bill would raise early retirement age from 50 to 52 for protective services employees and from 55 to 60 for general employees, and change the calculation for a participant’s final average earning from the highest 3 years to the highest 5 years … Series of bills introduced to restrict the ability of school districts to win passage of local referendums … Bill would require DPI to first submit its ESSA plan to the Assembly and Senate education committees for approval before it goes to the federal government … Joint Finance Committee to begin state budget deliberations … Senate Education Committee will hold an executive session on bills related to recovery charter schools and a mental health training program. Read More...
  • The case for using ESSA audits to curb high-stakes testing

    In about 2 weeks, Angelina Cruz, a 6th grade social studies and reading and language arts teacher, will attend a meeting she hopes will result in her district taking a hard look at the number of high-stakes, standardized tests students are required to take. Read More...
  • Teachers strongly believe that far too much time is spent on student testing, surveys show

    Teachers throughout the nation feel that there is far too much time spent on testing students, according to this analysis from the Atlantic. On average, it says, teachers estimate spending 14 days preparing students for state-mandated exams, and 12 days for district-mandated exams, and eight in 10 teachers think their students spend too much time taking government-mandated tests. Read More...
  • U.S. Education Department proposes new regulations for school accountability

    After more than 100 meetings across the nation with students, parents, educators, state and local leaders, and other stakeholders, the U.S. Department of Education has released a set of proposed regulations to help states as they rethink their accountability and school improvement systems under the new Every Student Succeeds Act. Whereas No Child Left Behind prescribed top-down interventions for struggling schools, the new proposed regulations provide flexibility for schools and districts to implement locally designed solutions and offer a more holistic approach to measuring a quality education than NCLB’s narrow definition of school success. Read More...
  • Consensus reached on some ESSA regulations, but not all

    The committee charged with negotiating certain regulations to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which included two voting members nominated by NEA, reached consensus on regulations related to assessments, but not on ensuring federal dollars “supplement, not supplant” state and local dollars. That means the U.S. Department of Education will write and issue the unresolved regulations, after a public comment period as well as a chance for Congress to respond. Read More...
  • Education Chief Wants More Well-Rounded Learning – NBC News

    Education Secretary John B. King Jr. wants to see a return to a more well-rounded education for schoolchildren, one that spotlights the importance of science, social studies, world languages and the arts. In a speech Thursday in Las Vegas, King said some schools have focused too intensely on reading and math and testing in those subjects under the 2002 No Child Left Behind law. Read More...
  • Educators paved way for historic congressional wins in 2015

    Hyperpartisan gridlock is the description commonly used when it comes to Congress. But the legislative body notched some significant bipartisan victories for students and educators when it wrapped up its session last month thanks in large measure to the advocacy of educators. Read More...
  • President Obama signs ESSA: Educators welcome new education law

    At a White House ceremony, President Barack Obama Thursday signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the federal education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. NEA President Lily Eskelsen García joined the president. Read More...
  • U.S. Senate ushers in new era in public education with historic vote

    The U.S. Senate Wednesday approved the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the federal education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as this week. “Today, the U.S. Senate took a bold and historic step to usher in a new era in public education,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. Read More...