Friday, January 24, 2020
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President signs ESSA; NCLB falls; era ends

President Barack Obama, near the end of his two-term presidency, signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, about 14 years after President George W Bush signed its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act, near the beginning of his.

Signing ceremony, about 11 AM, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium
(Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

The No Child Left Behind law was intended to ensure high public school standards but could never provide the flexibility and resources needed to get the job done. Instead of helping schools, it punished them, even long after it was supposed to be reauthorized in 2007.

The ESSA “bill, on a bipartisan basis, really does assure that we have high standards, that every child is entitled to get a great teacher,” Mr Obama said after he signed it. “Those schools that aren’t doing the job, we’re going to make sure that we’re holding them to high standards, intervening in low-performing schools.”

Voxitatis will provide additional analysis in the coming weeks as we study this new law. On the surface, it helps states and districts reduce unnecessary standardized tests and removes several one-size-fits-all mandates on our schools.

“It also makes sure that civil rights are preserved; it makes sure that we’ve got additional resources for early-childhood education,” he continued. “It really does promise the possibility that local school districts, working with state and federal officials and making sure that we’ve got enough resources there, are going to see substantial improvements in students’ performance.”

The president wasted no time in signing the new law. The Senate voted 85-12 just yesterday to approve it, and last week the House of Representatives passed the measure 359-64.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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