ESSA represents a significant course correction acknowledging that more than a decade's worth of education reforms based on test-and-sanction policies were a failure, and sends a strong signal to states that these failed policies should not be pursued. This bill:
Maintains funding for the students who need it most;
Prohibits the federal government from mandating teacher evaluations;
Stops the federal government from prescribing high-stakes consequences like school closures and conversions;
Opposes support for private school vouchers, portability or other divisive policies;
Includes more transparency and accountability for charters; and
Maintains certification requirements for paraprofessionals.
While the new bill doesn't solve all problems, it opens the way for states to give teachers the latitude to teach so their kids can reach their potential, and gives us the chance to press the reset button so public schools can be places where teachers want to teach, parents want to send their kids and students are engaged.