The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was passed as a part of United States President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty" and has been the most far-reaching federal legislation affecting education ever passed by the United States Congress. The act is an extensive statute that funds primary and secondary education. It also emphasizes equal access to education and establishes high standards and accountability. In addition, the bill aims to shorten the achievement gaps between students by providing each child with fair and equal opportunities to achieve an exceptional education. As mandated in the act, the funds are authorized for professional development, instructional materials, resources to support educational programs, and for parental involvement promotion. The act was originally authorized through 1965; however, the government has reauthorized the act every five years since its enactment. The reauthorization of ESEA by President George W. Bush was known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. ESEA was reauthorized on December 10, 2015, as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by President Barack Obama. The ESEA also allows military recruiters access to 11th and 12th-grade students' names, addresses, and telephone listings when requested.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
A New Education Law
The new law builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents, and students across the country. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, and represents good news for our nation’s schools. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law, and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.
For example, today, high school graduation rates are at all-time highs. Dropout rates are at historic lows. And more students are going to college than ever before. These achievements provide a firm foundation for further work to expand educational opportunities and improve student outcomes under ESSA.
The previous version of the law, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, was enacted in 2002. NCLB represented a significant step forward for our nation’s children in many respects, particularly as it shined a light on where students were making progress and where they needed additional support, regardless of race, income, zip code, disability, home language, or background. The law was scheduled for revision in 2007, and, over time, NCLB’s prescriptive requirements became increasingly unworkable for schools and educators. Recognizing this fact, in 2010, the Obama administration joined a call from educators and families to create a better law that focused on the clear goal of fully preparing all students for success in college and careers.
Congress has now responded to that call.
The Every Student Succeeds Act reflects many of the priorities of this administration