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What does The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Mean for Parents?

What does The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Mean for Parents?

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What does The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Mean for Parents?

The No Child Left Behind Act that went into effect in 2002 is now called The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted in 2015 and is a landmark education reform law that has already enhanced academic performance. One of its purposes was to close the disconcerting achievement gap that separates many disadvantaged, disabled and minority students from their peers.   To do this, it measured student performance and focused on other resources and attention on those that were mostly under threat of becoming behind. But what about the schools themselves you ask? And what does the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Mean for parents?

Under No Child Left Behind, schools that received federal funds to help teach and prepare educationally disadvantaged children had to make what is called “Adequate Yearly Progress” in reading, language arts, and mathematics. These evidently clear targeted goals, which raised over time, were put in place by each of the 50 states based on what was suitable for their local school areas.  If a school did not reach its annual goals, it gave extra support and another chance.   If it again did not succeed the following year, the school was deemed “in need of improvement.” Additional resources were provided to the school, and new options and choices were offered to its students and parents as well.

What does The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Mean for Parents?

As states released their lists of schools that underperformed over the prior school year, parents would be alerted to their school’s status. They could have possibly been qualified for free tutoring or after-school classes for their children or were eligible to select another public school that better met their needs.  Parents of children in schools thought to be “in need of improvement” would then contact their local school officials to inquire if their children were qualified for these and other services offered.

If a school continued to underperform for five or more years in a row, school officials had to develop and implement a two-year plan to make the necessary changes for the school. The local school district would certify that the school received the needed technical assistance as it developed and implemented the enhancement plan.


Parents who got involved in administering attendance, overseeing homework and creating academic goals, were less likely to see their children left behind in school. Ways that parents could help their child’s school succeed under The No Child Left Behind Act included:


  • Attend parent-teacher meetings to address academic or discipline issues.


  • Participate in school board meetings.


  • Volunteer to serve during school hours or in extracurricular activities.


  • Encourage other parents to become involved.


  • Tapped into the community or private-sector resources.


  • Learn about No Child Left Behind and how it can benefit their child.


What does The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Mean for Parents?


The information listed above was all included in the previous version of the law, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. NCLB signified a substantial move in the right direction for our nation’s children, mostly as it highlighted on where students were making improvement and where they needed additional support, regardless of their race, income, zip code, disability, home language, or background.  The law was scheduled for revision in 2007, as, over time the law became unsuitable for the schools and the educators. Therefore, a new law was implemented and went into effect that serves teachers and schools better and has a goal to help prepare all students for success in their career and college goals.  Under the ESSA  the law includes:


  • Advances equity by keeping pressing defenses for America’s disadvantaged and high-need students.
  • Involves—for the first time—that all students in America are taught to high academic values that will help them succeed in college and career goals.
  • Guarantees that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students’ progress toward those high standards.
  • Helps to support and grow local innovations—including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators—consistent with our Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods
  • Endures and expands this administration’s significant investments in increasing access to high-quality preschool.
  • Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time.

The information provided came directly from the United States Department of Education.  It is always best to be and stay informed of any Act or laws that can help or affect our children.  For more information on The No Child Left Behind Act which is now known as The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), please visit U.S. Department of Educations website here.



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