(2015, December)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015. The law reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replaces the more onerous requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  On December 18th, the U.S. Department of Education took the first steps in implementing ESSA by issuing a Dear Colleague letter to states to offer some initial guidance about a few of the most immediate and pressing questions as states, school districts, and schools transition to the ESSA.

The main points discussed in the Dear Colleague letter are:

  • Title I assessment peer review;
  • Annual measurable objectives (AMOs) and annual measurable achievement objectives (AMAOs) for school years 2014–2015 and 2015–2016;
  • Conditions and other related requirements under ESEA flexibility;
  • Priority and focus school lists; and
  • Educator evaluation and support systems under ESEA flexibility.

The Department also launched the rulemaking process by issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to seek advice and recommendations for Title I regulations under the ESSA. The filing specifically notes that the agency is considering conducting negotiated rulemaking on academic assessments and the requirement that Title I, Part A funds be used to supplement not supplant state and local funds and invites comments on those issues.  It also requests feedback on other areas which the Department should regulate.  The public comment period will be open for 30 days.

The Department will hold two public hearings in January to collect feedback on transition to the new law:

• Monday, January 11, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
• Tuesday, January 19, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time at the University of California-Los Angeles’ Carnesale Commons.

To present comments during these meetings, please RSVP to ESSA.publichearing@ed.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on January 4, 2016, for the Washington, D.C., hearing and 5:00 p.m. ET on January 12, 2016, for the Los Angeles hearing. The he Washington, D.C., hearing will be live streamed (see the RFI for details).

For more specific information on all the above and on ESSA please visit:  http://www.ed.gov/ESEA

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