Understanding the Every Student Succeeds Act

On this page you'll find information about the Every Student Succeeds Act, how it is being implemented in Washington and what you can do to make sure local decisions put students and educators first. The ESSA is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 and the replacement for the wildly unpopular No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

  • Help shape ESSA implementation in Washington

    It is vital that educators with real classroom and school experience help drive the ESSA implementation. The shift from NCLB to ESSA transfers much of the decision-making power from the federal government to state and local governments. Learn more about how you can get involved, including by attending one of OSPI's regional forums open to the public or sharing feedback online to state workgroups creating the ESSA implementation plan.

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  • Keep up with the latest ESSA developments

    Check out posts on the WE Are blog to stay up to date on the latest ESSA news and developments.

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  • 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 that transferred most of the responsibility for school improvement to the state level and greatly reduced the ability of the Secretary of Education to influence school improvement efforts.

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  • Changes to testing in ESSA

    When Congress reauthorized the ESEA, it was clear they heard the concerns from teachers, students and parents about the impact of over-testing on teaching and learning.  
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  • School improvement under ESSA

    Washington state still requires interventions for low-performing schools. Learn more about how schools are identified for intervention and what that means for educators.
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  • ESSA and Highly Qualified teacher requirements

    ESSA requires states and districts to ensure that low-income and minority students are not served at disproportionate rates by “ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers.” Learn more about how the state will phase out the Highly Qualified Teacher requirement.
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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 linking student test scores to teacher evaluation and strongly opposes any efforts by the Legislature to tie student test scores to teacher evaluation.

For more information, contact Sally McNair, National & State Education Policy Implementation Coordinator.