The Every Students Succeeds Act or ESSA is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which was originally signed into law in 1965 in order to supply federal funding for school districts. ESSA replaces the No Child Left Behind Act signed into law by George W. Bush. President Obama signed for ESSA whch goes into effect on July 1, 2017.
What to do?
States and districts must come up with a plan on how they intend to spend federal dollars. All stakeholders should be prepared to come to the table in their home districts and States in order to ask for desired funding. Department chairpersons, teachers, students, parents, school leaders, community members all have a say in the process, but must show up to the negotiating tables aware of what they want, why they want it and how it will bring benefit.
While it would be impossible to review all aspects of ESSA here, in a nutshell it provides much more flexibility for states in regard to assessment, teacher evaluation, hiring practice and other areas that were otherwise stifled by NCLB. In addition to that, the term core subjects as been replaced with "a well rounded education." What this means is that subjects such as health, physical education, music, art, career and technical ed, engineering, writing, computer science and technology have all been placed on an equal playing field with the traditional core subjects. While they are still not mandated through ESSA, they are being funded through various Titles in ESSA.
Various large grants will be pooled to create Title IV funding to support "a well rounded education." While this presents opportunities to fund many of our much needed HPE, Art, Music programs etc., it also means grants like the Carol White PEP grant, that was a very large grant devoted to Health and Physical Education is no longer available. This will also be pooled and programs will all have to ask for their share. For more details on ESSA specific to Title IV visit the SHAPE website. For further support, feel free to contact TCI.