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History of the Every Student Succeeds Act

Info: 1795 words (7 pages) Law Essay
Published: 7th Aug 2019

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Jurisdiction(s): US Law

            On April 9th, 1965 the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and it helped bring the issue of education into the spotlight and was seen as a way to have equal access to quality education for everyone in the United States. The funds that came from this act were supposed to go to certain resources for schools which included instructional resources, and resources to support educational programs. Title I, is a provision of the (ESEA) which was created by the United States department of Education to distribute funds between schools and school districts with a higher population of low-income families.

The Title I was designed to close the gap in math, writing, and reading in areas where students come from low income families. Title II supported textbook and school library purchases for both public and private schools. The first years of the elementary and secondary education act presented with many different problems regarding religion, money, race, and federal -state- local relations within the law.  

Richard Nixon was not the biggest fan of the ESEA in 1969 he signed the ESEA amendments which included title II funding for children who reside in low rent public housing. Title VI was dedicated to children with parents with disabilities. Title VII supported the vocational education act of 1963. Finally, title VIII provided a definition of the gifted and talented.  In 1988 the focus of title I shifted from financial regulations to student success, the Hawkins- Stafford Elementary and Secondary school improvement act refocused title I on school improvements and student improvement.

            In 2001 George W. Bush reauthorized ESEA but renamed it the No Child Left Behind Act. With the no child left behind act the accountability was changed, the states had to develop and meet measurable objectives (AMO’s) and adequate yearly progress (AYP) goals for subgroups of students. All subgroups were required to meet 100% proficiency on state assessments by the 2013-2014 school year. State standards were required reading, math, and science at all grade and included three level of performance groups (advanced, proficient, and basic.) Students were required to be assessed in math and reading/ English language arts annually in grades 3-8 and once in grades 10-12. Schools had to asses at least 95% of each subgroup of students in their schools.  State and local education agencies are required to prepare and make available to the public report cards on student achievements.  With the No Child Left Behind act the federal education programs, such as safe and drug- free schools, school counseling programs, mental health programs, and Parent Information Resource Centers (PIRCs) programs. It also required all teachers in core academic subjects to be “highly qualified,” which meant teachers had to have a bachelor’s degree and demonstrated knowledge and have to have certificates in the subjects they teach. It also required states to take corrective action in schools that failed to meet AYP in many consecutive years.

            President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act on December 10, 2015  also known as (ESSA). Which represented a shift between perspective federal rule in education under the No Child Left Behind act (NCLB) to more state and local flexibility. States now have more responsibility over their accountability systems, assessments, standards and school improvement plans than they had in the last 15 years.  With the new ESSA act the AYP and the proficiency requirements were both eliminated, and the states indicators and long-term goals for measuring academic success were also eliminated. States are also required to measure student progress on measures by assessments, English language proficiency, graduation rates, student growth and state mandated testing. When it comes to testing the states must show they have adopted challenging achievement standards in math, reading, and science so students can enter college career with being prepared. It also created a grant called student support and academic enrichment, which consolidated about 50 different programs into one which allows states to have more freedom on where the funds go to. The ESSA also eliminates the requirement of teachers to be “highly qualified,” the states have control over teacher requirements. When it comes to school improvement it requires states once every three years partner with parents to develop school improvement programs.

            Many parents like the Every Student succeeds act because the new federal law advances the new act promises that all students from kindergarten to middle school, and especially students who live in low income areas, students of color, English Learners, and other historically challenged students have access to the same education that other students in higher income areas receive which prepares them for college, career, and life. ESSA provides state education agencies with new flexibility especially in designing systems for performance in determining how and when to deliver improvement strategies for schools. What many parents seem to not realize is that this law also leaves out a huge chunk of kids in America who have learning disabilities like dyslexia.

            With the No Child Behind law being replaced with the every student succeeds act state educators have control over where federal funding goes, but a large group of students are being left out, dyslexia effects twenty percent of students in the United States of the plans that were submitted less than a quarter of the plans address the disorder. Dyslexia doesn’t allow a student to process and read basic texts. Most students have troubles thinking, listening, writing, spelling, and reading. Yet these students are expected to take standardized testing and pass these tests. Most dyslexia isn’t discovered until around fourth grade which is when most states require standardized testing and many of these students don’t pass theses tests because they cannot comprehend or read these tests. In addition, while schools routinely screen children for hearing and sight impairment a problem that is not routinely checked is dyslexia.

  “Think about it, 20 percent of the population affected, dyslexia is one of the major causes for kids reading below grade level and if you read below grade level you’re just not going to do well in school and we’re not doing anything about this,”

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., told Red Alert Politics in an interview.

            This new federal education law is failing about 1 in 5 kids in America, after thinking over this problem and speaking to my peers around me the proposed solution that I have brainstormed and researched is that we start screening students at a younger age so we can help sooner than later so when they finally get to fourth grade and have to take standardized tests they have the resources and knowledge to help pass these test with this act we can kill two birds with one stone with helping these students with dyslexia and help states increase their passing rates. In the most recent data taken at the federal level, more than 60 percent of fourth graders in the United States are not proficient readers and struggle to be successful in basic public education. In America the average class size is 22 students per room and statistics show that 4.4 of students in that room will eventually be evaluated and found out to have dyslexia. In the United States 33 different bills have been introduced between January and march of 2018.

 There are currently eight states in the united states who do not have dyslexia rules and regulations. An impact that I can have on this issue is to help get the word out a much as possible in the eight states that don’t have the rules and regulations so the students don’t have to struggle so much anymore. I will propose a bill to my local representative to help pass federal regulation laws for students who have learning disabilities which include: dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dysgraphia. I would make sure that all fifty states have to adapt this law in order receive federal funding from the government. People need to get out and vote for representatives who will vote to help their students in the classroom and help them succeed in life. Today, laws continue to focus on dyslexia awareness, pilot programs for screening and interventions and accommodations and overall rights for those who have dyslexia. But we still have a long way to go to improve these conditions for students so they can continue to learn and grow.  


  • “Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).” U.S. Department of Education Releases National Student Loan FY 2014 Cohort Default Rate | U.S. Department of Education, US Department of Education (ED), www.ed.gov/essa?src=policy.
  • “Dyslexia Laws 2018.” Dyslexia | Dyslexic Advantage, www.dyslexicadvantage.org/dyslexia-laws-2018/.
  • “ESSA Gives States More Control, Targets Needs of Struggling Readers.” International Dyslexia Association | …until Everyone Can Read!, dyslexiaida.org/essa-gives-states-more-control-targets-needs-of-struggling-readers/.
  •  “Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.” Social Welfare History Project, 29 Apr. 2018, socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/programs/education/elementary-and-secondary-education-act-of-1965/.
  • Reports, APM. “How American Schools Fail Kids with Dyslexia.” Not Trained to Not Kill | APM Reports, www.apmreports.org/story/2017/09/11/hard-to-read.
  • Charyssa Parent  | October 31, and PeopleImages. “Sen. Bill Cassidy Says Federal Education Law Is Failing 1 in 5 Students.” Washington Examiner, 31 Oct. 2017, www.washingtonexaminer.com/sen-bill-cassidy-says-federal-education-law-is-failing-1-in-5-students.

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