The December 2015 enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) marks an important turning point in federal education policy. After fifteen years of a strong federal presence under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, Congress decided to give states significant flexibility in how they design their education systems.
While this flexibility presents states with an unprecedented opportunity to transform their approach to teaching and learning, it also has the potential to jeopardize success if implementation is not high quality. States must be thoughtful in how they design education systems that align accountability, school improvement, assessment, educator workforce, and extended learning opportunity policies to create a cohesive system that prepares all students for success from cradle to career.
This aligned system, established in partnership with districts, communities, and leaders across sectors, should ensure that every student benef its from a personalized education where instruction and supports are aligned to individual interests and needs. Fortunately, ESSA provides a number of high-leverage opportunities to advance a vision for personalized learning throughout each major element of the education system.
This guidance will help states identify and explore these opportunities as they begin to design their state’s approach to implementation of ESSA.