Here's What You Should Be Reading About the New ESEA

As the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act comes to head with a vote in the House today, pretty much everyone in education has had something to say on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and what it means for the states, the future education secretary, and, of course, the students. Starting us off is Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog, led by Alyson Klein and Andrew Ujifusa. The duo has been keeping everyone up-to-date on the contents of the bill and its timeline for passage, letting us know who supports it and who mostly supports it, and more. Chad Aldeman, over at Ahead of the Heard, has also given us his thoughts on ESSA more than once. First, he weighed in on what school accountability— central to the reauthorization debate—looks like before, after and during No Child Left Behind. And more recently, he commented that the bill amounts to a "big ole nothing burger" for American students—at least for students who attend schools that aren’t in the bottom 5 percent of schools. Civil rights groups, like the National Council of La Raza and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, have also given their (luke-warm) approval to the bill, pointing out that prioritizing accountability and at-risk students is the key to any federal education policy. Less supportive of the bill, however, is New America’s Conor Williams. He calls in The Seventy Four for  progressives, liberals and President Obama to oppose the bill—going as far to say that the weakest provisions of the bill warrant a veto from the Oval Office. Given the Obama Administration’s priorities—accountability, high standards, Pre-K, reducing testing, etc.— a veto seems incredibly unlikely. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, are those who are looking toward the future which is exactly what Robin Lake of the Center for Reinventing Public Education has done in her piece at The Seventy Four. Given the bipartisan and bicameral support of the bill, there’s a good chance at this point that it’s going to pass. With that fact in mind, it’s important to call out to the actors in every state to step up their accountability game and to look out for students’ best interests.  
Valentina Payne
Valentina Payne joined Bellwether Education Partners in 2021 as chief of staff to Andy Rotherham on the External Relations team. Prior to Bellwether, she spent seven years at brightbeam, where she most recently served as its chief growth officer, overseeing operations, finance, fundraising, and strategic growth of the organization.

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