Science: ESSA offers states and districts several opportunities to provide students with a robust science education. The law includes provisions for training and recruiting science teachers; creating specialized schools dedicated to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); and expanding STEM curricula.
Title I Funding for High Schools: ESSA changes the requirements for how local educational agencies (LEAs) may allocate Title I funds to allow more high schools to receive funding.
In partnership with the NAACP, the Alliance developed the following four fact sheets, which the NAACP distributed at its 2016 annual convention:
Advanced Course Work: ESSA offers states and districts several opportunities to provide students with advanced course work, including Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual- and concurrent-enrollment programs, and early college high schools.
Parent and Community Engagement: To provide opportunities for meaningful parent engagement, ESSA requires schools that receive federal funding for underserved students, under Title I and other programs, to develop parent and family engagement policies.
Reducing Incidents of School Discipline: As the implementation of ESSA proceeds, the overuse of exclusionary discipline practices in schools, and the role such practices play in perpetuating the school-to-prison pipeline, continue to garner national attention. By promoting indicators that measure school climate and discipline practices, ESSA pushes states and districts to use data to identify and support schools with high rates of discipline referrals, disaggregate this data for subgroup accountability, and track the success of new discipline practices.
Ensuring Every Student Matters: The academic needs of large numbers of African American and Latino students, students from low-income families, English language learners, students with disabilities, and other groups of traditionally underserved students in twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia could be ignored based on the way states count students from those subgroups. As a result, schools in those states might not be required to provide the resources that these subgroups of traditionally underserved students need to succeed.
Linked Learning: Under ESSA, assessments must include measures that assess higher-order thinking skills and understanding and may be partially delivered in the form of portfolios, projects, or extended-performance tasks.
Deeper Learning: Under ESSA, states are required to adopt challenging academic content standards and demonstrate that those standards align with entrance requirements for credit-bearing course work in the state’s public system of higher education and with relevant state career and technical education (CTE) standards. By adopting challenging academic standards that ask students to think critically and analyze complex problems, states can help develop deeper learning.
Digital Learning: Under ESSA, states and districts may use federal Title II funds to support training and professional development for teachers, principals, and other school leaders on how to effectively integrate technology into curricula and instruction. ESSA also includes a competitive grant program to support professional development to improve classroom instruction specifically for English learners. Grant funds from this program may be used to support the use of technology-based programs that are effective in increasing student academic achievement and instruction of English learners.
Personalized Learning: ESSA supports states and districts in implementing personalized learning, a student-centered approach designed to help all students develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will prepare them for college, a career, and life. Personalized learning emphasizes
- developing trusted and caring relationships between teachers and students;
- connecting learning to the real world;
- linking curriculum to students’ interests, strengths, and aspirations;
- providing students individually targeted instruction, practice, and support where they are struggling; and
- creating more flexible learning environments.
Personalized learning requires those working in schools to rethink the ways they teach and support students in their learning.
Rural Schools: ESSA offers a number of opportunities to support rural education by providing states and local districts more flexibility while preserving the critical role of the federal government.
High School Dropout Prevention ESSA includes several provisions that support state and district efforts to prevent students from dropping out of high school and reengage out-of-school youth.
American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Students ESSA includes several provisions that target the education needs of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students.
Teacher Preparation ESSA offers several opportunities for states, districts, and not-for-profit and for-profit entities to invest in high-quality innovative teacher preparation and support new educators as they begin their careers.