President Obama signs Every Student Succeeds Act into law

Posted by Aja Williams on
Screenshot/White House Live Stream

Thursday morning, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, which is the successor of the expired No Child Left Behind Act.

The new act, as noted by several media reports, moves control and a number of decisions to the state and local levels. Annual testing of particular grade levels will remain as well as a breakdown of data based upon students’ race, income and disability status, but other factors to measure student performance will be left up to states.

In addition, states and school districts will be able to set goals and strategize on how to improve low-performing schools. For the first time, the act also provides $250 million in annual funding for early education.

President Obama noted the signing of the bill was "an early Christmas gift" for the country and it makes long overdue fixes to the former No Child Left Behind Act.

The bill also has a strong call for communities to have stronger focus on high school graduation rates among one of the measures of progress.

According to USA Today, states will be allowed to intervene into their bottom five percent of schools as well as those high schools with graduation rates below 67 percent as they see it. 

For the past four years, public media stations across the country have been working with local organizations, schools and other partners to ensure youth have the best opportunities to thrive and succeed. More specifically, stations have worked to raise awareness of issues that could lead to students dropping out as well as the people and programs that have helped them graduate and succeed.

There is great value in the new legislation to enable schools, especially those struggling to deploy “integrated student supports,” which could include a broad array of social services – within and outside the school, for academic and for non-academic needs – that can help at-risk students succeed.

As the new legislation becomes enacted across the nation, stations will continue to work in their communities to continue to convene, converse and cover the ideas and issues that are helping keep students on track in the 21st century.