ESSA marks the first time in the history of ESEA when the federal government pulled back on its commitment to improving the education of disadvantaged students. And it shows. After a decade of increased achievement in the 2000s in the wake of NCLB, the 2010s were stagnant. Furthermore, the achievement of disadvantaged students actually declined. Finally, for all its talk of greater local innovation, I’ll offer a challenge to Lamar Alexander and the other promoters of this deficient legislation: I’ll take the local innovators and innovations of the NCLB era, and you can have those of this past several years. As to quality and effectiveness, which side would win? Hands down, ironically, it would be the NCLB era of greater federal expectations!