Is ESSA Working?

NCLB architect Sandy Kress: 

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!

One Reply to “Is ESSA Working?”

  1. Interesting. I agree with the sentiment but wonder if NCLB was if correlation but not causation?

    More broadly, cities and states “stopped trying to win” at achievement gains, right?

    There was a peak moment with DC, NYC, Race, Turnarounds, Talent Strategies, MET, some early Obama prestige.

    In 2004 you’d have discussions with district/state people on the mechanics/details of generating achievement gains. In 2014 nobody cared. ESSA seemed a reaction to that, not a cause of that?

    Districts/states became like an NFL team that is 3-10 and has 3 games left. Some guys are trying to maximize personal stats for future contracts. Some guys are trying to avoid injury. Some coaches are actively interviewing for other jobs. Everyone goes through the motions. But nobody is really trying to win.

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