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Federal Education Law Reauthorized

Thursday, December 17, 2015

After nearly 14 years, No Child Left Behind is no longer law. It was replaced last week with a law which is earning praise from State Superintendent Tony Evers as well as national groups including the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Evers (who, as an aside, is also heading up the CCSSO this year), said this reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a bipartisan effort known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, could not have come at a better time.

“The No Child Left Behind Act was long overdue for a refresh, and I am pleased that Congress and the president could work together to provide a strong framework going forward.”

This seventh reauthorization of ESEA removes many of the federal mandates introduced by No Child Left Behind. States must now craft their own accountability systems, to go into effect in the 2017-18 school year.

Evers noted that locally designed policies have been advanced nationwide for the past few years, and that having a federal law that supports Wisconsin’s “rigorous accountability system ... while maintaining flexibility, is key.”

He also said this is a good time to discuss ways to allow states to “tackle achievement gaps” through exploring “different methods, centered on their needs.”

As for next steps, Evers said, “We will work with stakeholders during a period of adjustment to make implementation work for Wisconsin students, educators, and families. We plan to take full advantage of these positive changes to improve student learning while giving local schools more flexibility and authority.”

More on the differences between NCLB and ESSA can be found in an earlier DPI-ConnectEd article.