How will ESSA impact schools in your state?
We know that with the new education law in place states will now have increased control on how their education systems are constructed. But how will that part of ESSA impact schools?
Perhaps there will not be a more obvious outcome of ESSA than how states deal with their classroom teachers.
In the past the federal government was able to dictate the terms of teacher evaluations on a national scale. Many teachers feel that his is a good thing (we agree, by the way) because states will obviously be more in tune with what is happening in local districts and communities and will take those into account when evaluating their teachers.
Also in the past, under NCLB, schools were under the ‘test and punish’ system. You’ve likely heard of this before.
This was a process where standardized testing was the name of the game and students were tested on an annual basis. Not only was this an issue with students, it was horribly restricting to teachers.
There was, for teachers, essentially, no creativity allowed. You had to teach your students “to the test”. And there really wasn’t much incentive to do otherwise.
If the school performed poorly on these standardized tests students were given to option to attend other area schools, on the light end. If there wasn’t marked improvement at the school then students and teachers faced a potential takeover of the school, replacement of all staff or the permanent closing of the school.
As most all agreed, this kind of system was bad for students and teachers alike.
With ESSA now in place the impact for schools will be felt in a number of ways:
- States will control teacher evaluation systems and federal funds will not be tied to teacher evaluation requirements
- States will set their own processes for struggling and under-performing schools. The federal government will not specify what must be done with these schools in exchange for funding
- States can receive federal funding to review their current testing policies and eliminate unnecessary tests
- States will not be able to set their own accountability standards, within reason. These standards do not have to follow NCLB’s Adequate Yearly Progress policy either
Want to know more about ESSA?