Understanding the Every Student Succeeds Act

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents an opportunity to ensure success for each and every student. This opportunity will only be realized if educators lead implementation, make our voices heard and work with our communities to advocate on behalf of students. The ESSA is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 and the replacement for the 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

  • What the ESSA changes

    The top-down, strict and punitive measures of NCLB were wildly unpopular, unrealistic and largely unsuccessful. As a result, and with overwhelming bi-partisan support, Congress rewrote the law in 2015 and transferred most of the responsibility for school improvement to the state and district levels and greatly reduced the ability of the Secretary of Education to influence school improvement efforts.

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  • Realistic standards and accountability

    WEA members believe that any state or federal accountability system must include realistic, achievable standards that include a wide variety of quality school indicators that support student growth and reduce opportunity gaps. In its fight for more resources for struggling schools, WEA has also worked to reframe school accountability as a shared responsibility among all stakeholders in public education.

    In addition, WEA has shown the harm of using high stakes measures to define school quality and student success.  WEA has consistently argued against the use of student test scores to teacher evaluation and has never supported the use of the state test as a graduation requirement. 

    For more information, contact Sally McNair, National & State Education Policy Implementation Coordinator.
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  • Washington State's ESSA Plan

    OSPI spent much of 2016 bringing together the state's education stakeholders, including WEA, to help prepare the state's Consolidated Plan for ESSA. The state released a draft plan in the fall of 2016 for public comment and will be spending most of 2017 refining the plan before submitting a final draft to the Department of Education in September.

    Find a copy of the state's plan here.