The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), enacted in 2015, builds upon the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. Above all, ESSA’s aim is to provide equitable educational experiences for every child.
First, let’s explore how ESSA combines funding programs with accountability and assessment requirements to reduce achievement gaps. Then, we’ll focus on how the Texas A-F system and the Closing the Gaps domain are merging with ESSA Accountability.
Update to No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)
ESSA represents a significant update to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the reauthorization of the ESEA. The ESEA was designed to provide equal opportunities for all students. As such, ESSA takes a comprehensive approach to ensure every student succeeds by addressing achievement gaps and supporting their educational needs. It recognizes that funding alone is not enough. Therefore, accountability and assessment play crucial roles in measuring progress and promoting educational excellence for students.
ESSA Accountability and the A-F System
In Texas, the state has integrated the requirements of ESSA Accountability with its existing A-F system. The requirements are combined under the Closing the Gaps domain. This integration allows for a unified approach to measuring and addressing achievement gaps, providing a clearer understanding of school performance, and highlighting areas that require additional support. By aligning these systems, Texas aims to foster transparency, fairness, and rigor in its educational practices. As a result, Texas strives to ensure that every student receives the necessary resources and opportunities for success.
Reducing Achievement Gaps Among Students
Lastly, the ultimate goal of ESSA is to reduce achievement gaps among students. By implementing evidence-based strategies, providing targeted interventions, and monitoring progress, states can identify disparities and develop initiatives to support underperforming schools and students. Through collaborative efforts among educators, administrators, and policymakers, ESSA aims to create a more equitable and inclusive educational landscape, empowering all students to thrive and succeed.
Read about the changes to the A-F system on the ESC Region 13 blog. For instance, Understanding the Impact of SB 1365 and The Why: Resetting the Accountability System give background on the A-F reset.