In 2002, the federal government passed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which mandated a progressive increase in student proficiency levels to a point of 100% proficiency in math, language arts, and science. As the proficiency goals became unrealistic, federal extensions or waivers such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) became an option for individual states to request a grace period on the federal mandates and still receive the federal funding. The federal government recently approved the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) abolishing the old NCLB. ESSA received strong bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. ESSA directly affects nearly 50 million students, 3.4 million teachers and approximately 100,000 public schools. The new ESSA law allows more state and local control especially when selecting curriculum. ESSA allows states to develop its own methods for holding schools accountable and demonstrating school quality. As we comb through the new legislation, it appears to allow for less federal intrusion and more state and local accountability models. With all the changes, the requirement of student testing on state standards in mathematics, language arts, and science is still a required component of ESSA. The bill provides rural school districts with increase in flexibility in using federal funding and requires districts to consult stakeholders in planning and implementing programs to improve student safety, health, well-being and academic achievement. Overall, the ESSA appears to be superior to the old NCLB by scaling back Washington’s influence on our local schools. Garfield County School District will be working the Utah State Office of Education to develop local initiatives pertaining to our schools.
Garfield County School District