Every Student Success Act—Finally!

Finally, after almost 14 years of disaster to the education profession, No Child Left Behind has finally been buried and replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act that was signed by the President today, December 10, 2015.

The act is a continuing version of the original Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965. I was fortunate enough to be appointed to implement the first version of  this act when I was a counselor at Dorsey High School with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The rubric for education at the time was that education was of national interest, a state responsibility, but implemented locally. The No Child Left Behind Act changed the relationship to one of federal/national implementation.

There were a few major concerns with No Child Left Behind—including too much time spent in testing. The old saw is applicable: Continually weighing a pig does not make the pig weigh more. Other disasters included a tremendous amount of anxiety on the part of young people, teaching toward the test at the expense of other learnings, prompting teachers and administrators to cheat, and very importantly, having excellent teachers leave the profession.

The Every Student Succeeds Act returns to the states significant powers to determine how poorly performing schools should be improved, curbs the authority of the secretary of education, and eliminates the unrealistic goals that labeled too many schools as failing.

The future standards for better teaching and accountability will be through the states, rather than through the federal government. The new legisltation also prohibits any mandate about how teachers are to be evaluated. Any person who understands how tests are constructed knows how unreliable and invalid stndardized tests are for evaluating student learning—let alone evaluating teaching success based on paper and pencil tests.

Hopefully, the $26 billion dollars spent by the federal government in K -12 education annually will improve education, rather than destroying this most influential of all professions. Everyone in every profession was influenced by K – 12 teachers.

A one page summary of how to improve teaching is at the teaching model.