Will ESSA Impact You? Yes!

“With this bill, we reaffirm that fundamentally American ideal—that every child, regardless of race, income, background, the zip code where they live, deserves the chance to make of their lives what they will.” — President Barack Obama

New Education Law

In 2002, No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was put into effect to help educators identify when students were making progress and recognize when they needed additional supports without discriminating based on race, income, language, etc.  Over time, we found this act was not helping us all reach the goals of fully preparing all students for success in college and careers.

On December 10, 2015 President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  This new law reauthorizes the 50 year old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is a national law that gives equal opportunity to all students. The new law will build upon NCLB and ESEA to fully prepare ALL students for success in college and careers.

But the real question is, how will these changes impact us as teachers, administrators and students? And exactly how will it impact the classrooms and schools?

For ESSA, states have more control than they did with NCLB, so the impacts are now being considered by multiple committees working on Michigan’s version, Top 10 in 10.  Some of the changes that will be most evident to you will probably be assessments/accountability and uses of Title I and Title II funding.

Advanced Students and ESSA

ESSA is the first time that Congress has specifically addressed the needs of high-ability students. Because the original intent of ESEA was to serve all students from at-risk populations, the inclusion of high achievers and high potential students in ESSA is a natural extension.

“Giftedness is found in all populations of learners, requiring different strategies and interventions to convert high potential to high achievement,” (George Betts, University of Northern Colorado and M. Rene Islas, National Alliance for Gifted Children)

What You Need to Know About Advanced Students and ESSA

  • State and local report cards MUST now report on student achievement at the advanced level, disaggregated by subgroups.
  • Districts MAY use adaptive assessments (ex. NWEA) to measure the student’s level of academic proficiency and growth using items above or below grade level.
  • Title I funds MAY be used to identify and serve low-income advanced students.
  • State plans for use of federal Title II professional development funds MUST address how the state will enable teachers to identify advanced students and provide instruction based on their needs.
  • Districts receiving Title II funds MUST provide training to address the learning of advanced students and MAY provide training to support the identification of such students and MAY decide how they will do this based on specific needs of the district.

Learn More and Give Feedback

How might these changes in the Michigan version impact your students, your teaching, your school or district?  What will the Michigan version look like?

Now is your chance to ask these questions!

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has announced a set of Feedback Forums in partnership with intermediate school districts across Michigan. The public forums, entitled “Michigan’s Move to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA),” are designed to gather input from educators, advocates, parents, students, and the public regarding specific proposed components of the nation’s new federal education law.

The feedback gathered will inform Michigan’s final ESSA plan, which will guide how Michigan leverages federal funding to make Michigan a top 10 education state in the next 10 years. Michigan’s final plan is expected to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in early March 2017.

CLICK HERE to reserve your seat at Kent ISD’s ESSA Feedback Forum on December 16th.

This forum offers one more opportunity for stakeholders to learn more and share their thoughts. Please share this invitation with colleagues and neighbors.

Upcoming Professional Learning on ESSA



This blog post was written by Mary Nell Baldwin, Professional Development Consultant for Kent ISD and Amanda Walma, Professional Learning Coordinator at Kent ISD.

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