Every Student Succeeds Act: Answer To Low-Performing Schools; Proven In 3 Districts
Three school districts in the U.S. that have been struggling with low school performance showed significant improvement under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). By using evidence-based strategies, these school districts were able to experience student achievement gains.
Under the ESSA, Denver, Houston and Lawrence public schools were able to implement school-improvement tactics that helped the overall performance of their students. ESSA protects disadvantaged students, mandates that high standards are implemented in all schools and does annual statewide assessments that help in evaluating the progress of students.
The first leap that ESSA made, according to American Progress, was that it required schools to teach students using high academic standards. This is in line with the goal of the Department of Education to prepare American students better in college and in their respective careers later on. It also supports local innovations and sustains government investments in making high-quality preschool more accessible.
The new law prioritizes under-performing schools in the implementation of evidence-based interventions. While there may be a provision for this, it, however, does not divest states and districts their discretion on how they will improve schools.
The road to improving under-performing schools was not a walk in the park. School districts faced certain challenges before they saw academic gains. Some of the issues that confronted include matters pertaining to money, talent, time and of course, politics. They also had to deal with challenges of the difficulty in finding excellent teachers, training them, getting the proper stakeholders, and even how to allocate the right amount of time in implementing reforms.
According to the Department of Education, ESSA replaced the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which was originally scheduled to be revised in 2007 but became unworkable. This prompted the creation of the now better ESSA law, pursuant to concerted efforts between government, educators and families across the U.S.
With three school districts having seen better academic achievement in students during the implementation of ESSA, there is high hope that other school districts will follow suit. This would mean better education for American students, and certainly a better future in store for them.