Educators Call ESSA a “Game-Changer” for Maryland Schools
Annapolis, Maryland — This morning, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, effectively ending the failed No Child Left Behind era. ESSA—a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the federal education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—passed the House last week by a 359-64 margin and the Senate yesterday by an 85-12 margin. The last time ESEA was reauthorized was in 2002.
The new education law will have sweeping ramifications for Maryland schools on issues of accountability, testing, and closing gaps in opportunity between low-income students and their peers. After years of counterproductive federal requirements under No Child Left Behind, ESSA will return significant education policy authority back to Maryland—which will now be tasked with creating its own school accountability system. This will allow the state to measure school effectiveness by factors like attendance rates, access to extracurricular activities and advanced courses, and other aspects of school climate, rather than just a narrow over-emphasis on standardized test results.
MSEA President Betty Weller released the following statement:
“The Every Student Succeeds Act is a game-changer for Maryland students and their schools. After more than a decade of being held back by counterproductive federal requirements, Maryland will have a real opportunity to focus on proven ways to provide opportunities for every student and reduce the burden of over-testing.
After years of failed policies, we know kids aren’t going to test their way out of poverty. This new law will help us focus on things like small class sizes, access to a well-rounded education, and other factors which truly expand opportunities for students and help them succeed.”