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Every Student Succeeds Act

Since the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted in 2015, All4Ed has worked with policymakers and advocates to preserve the law’s legacy of protecting students’ civil rights. Our work analyzing ESSA implementation aims to show how well states have used the law’s opportunities to advance equity and meaningfully improve outcomes for all students. Compared to its predecessor—the No Child Left Behind Act—states and districts have greater flexibility under ESSA to measure school and student success and to determine the interventions needed in low-performing schools. While this flexibility creates possibilities for local innovation, it also poses risks if states and districts shirk those responsibilities or make policy choices that perpetuate historical inequities.

When Equity Is Optional

All4Ed studied data from the first year of ESSA implementation in ten states. The findings in our fact sheets show the consequences for students When Equity Is Optional.

States have used ESSA’s flexibility to take such varied approaches that students in low-performing schools—who are more likely to be students of color or from low-income families—have dramatically different odds of getting the supports and resources they need.

All4Ed held a conversation on ESSA’s fifth birthday to reflect on early lessons of ESSA implementation and the implications for students of color and students from low-income families.

Learn More About ESSA Implementation

The fact sheets below explore whether state plans followed ESSA’s guardrails to include historically underserved students.

December 14, 2018

Publication | Accountability and Support, Every Student Succeeds Act

Too Many States Minimize Student Subgroup Performance in Accountability Systems

All4Ed’s 50-state fact sheet showing how states include student subgroups in school ratings and identify schools for targeted support under ESSA.
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March 26, 2019

Publication | Accountability and Support, Every Student Succeeds Act

Screened Out? Some States May Underidentify Schools with Low-Performing Student Subgroups

ESSA allows states to name additional targeted support schools exclusively from those already selected for improvement, which may miss students who need support
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December 7, 2018

Publication | Accountability and Support, Data, Every Student Succeeds Act

Ensuring Every Student Matters What Is N-Size and Why Is It Important?

How do states set the minimum number of students needed to form a subgroup and what does that mean for monitoring outcomes of historically underserved students?
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Understanding ESSA

ESSA is the latest version of the nation’s most important K–12 education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Its purpose is to ensure all students have access to an equitable and excellent education. It requires states to set ambitious goals for student achievement, measure and report the progress of all students and groups of students (by race, disability status, socioeconomic status, etc.), and take action in schools where students need additional help. Specifically, ESSA requires states to provide comprehensive interventions in at least the lowest-performing 5% of Title I schools and high schools where fewer than 67% of students graduate on-time. States and districts also must provide targeted interventions to schools with groups of students who need extra support. We developed a series of one-page primers to explain ESSA on topics ranging from assessments and accountability systems to teachers and school leaders, rural schools, digital learning, and more. Learn more by clicking “ESSA Explained” below.

ESSA Explained

ESSA in Your State: All4Ed Reviews State Plans

Our When Equity is Optional fact sheets take a deeper look at ESSA in 10 states, focusing on how accountability systems affect historically underserved students. In addition, All4Ed’s ESSA Equity Dashboards rate all 50 states’ ESSA plans on 14 equity-focused policies.

Federal Flash

Federal Flash is All4Ed’s video series on important developments in education policy in Washington, D.C., including ESSA implementation, funding, and oversight from the U.S. Department of Education and Congress. To view or read a transcript of our most recent episode, click “Watch Now” below. For more frequent updates on education news and policy, follow @All4Ed on Twitter or check out our “New In Policy” page.

Watch Now Follow Us On Twitter New In Policy

The Latest from All4Ed on ESSA

Advocacy | Assessment, Every Student Succeeds Act, US Department of Education

Improving Implementation of Innovative Assessments

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Advocacy | Assessment, Every Student Succeeds Act, US Department of Education

Joint Comments on Fostering Innovative Assessment

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Accountability and Support, College and Career Pathways, Data, Every Student Succeeds Act, High Schools

All4Ed Releases Report — “Undermeasuring: College and Career Readiness Indicators May Not Reflect College and Career Outcomes.”

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