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Gov. Bob Wise Comments on New Education Law, Signed Today by President Obama

Every Student Succeeds Act Replaces No Child Left Behind

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, legislation to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replace the No Child Left Behind Act. In response, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement:

“A new education law to replace the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has been at the top of educators’ wish lists for many years. NCLB deserves credit for spotlighting gaps in achievement and graduation rates between white students and students of color, but after thirteen years, it is a DVD in a Netflix world.

“The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was only possible due to a level of bipartisanship that, in recent years, has become all too rare.

“ESSA maintains requirements around high school graduation rates that have helped the nation’s graduation rate reach an all-time high while reducing the number of dropouts by nearly 30 percent. To build on this progress, ESSA provides accountability and support to high schools that do not graduate one-third or more of their students. In addition, the legislation requires school districts to provide support to traditionally underserved students who consistently demonstrate low performance. Finally, funds are set aside for schools and districts to implement evidence-based interventions.

“With more than 4,000 students still dropping out every school day, I am pleased that ESSA keeps the nation’s foot on the high school graduation rate pedal while also providing states and districts with a great deal of flexibility and responsibility. States and districts will decide how to act, but action must take place. With states in the driver’s seat, I look forward to supporting their work to prepare all students for postsecondary education and the workforce.

“Congress may have clipped the U.S. Department of Education’s regulatory wings, but this law is an eagle that can still fly. I look forward to working with the Obama administration over the next year in support of their work to issue regulations embedded in the principles of equity and excellence, consistent with the letter and spirit of the law.”


The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.