The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on
December 10, 2015, and represents good news for our nation's schools.
This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and
Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation's national education law and
longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.
The new law builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made
possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents, and students
across the country.
For example, today, high school graduation rates are at all-time highs.
Dropout rates are at historic lows. And more students are going to
college than ever before. These achievements provide a firm foundation
for further work to expand educational opportunity and improve student
outcomes under ESSA.
The previous version of the law, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act,
was enacted in 2002. NCLB represented a significant step forward for our
nation's children in many respects, particularly as it shined a light
on where students were making progress and where they needed additional
support, regardless of race, income, zip code, disability, home
language, or background. The law was scheduled for revision in 2007,
and, over time, NCLB's prescriptive requirements became increasingly
unworkable for schools and educators. Recognizing this fact, in 2010,
the Obama administration joined a call from educators and families to
create a better law that focused on the clear goal of fully preparing
all students for success in college and careers.