(submitted by Emily Zuccaro)
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, was passed at the end of 2015. The legislation redistributes certain types of power from the federal government to states and local school districts over education. Schools are now responsible for creating their own assessment and accountability measures, among other items.
Read more about ESSA here: http://prichblog.blogspot.com/2015/12/federal-education-law-set-for-revamp.html
Due to the shift of decision-making power, the Department of Education starts 2016 with new challenges as to how to appropriate staff who currently supervise over 50 federal grants that have been consolidated under the new legislation. Individuals from the department assure that there will be little or no cuts, since most projects are still funded until next year, and staff can be reassigned to new projects as they develop over time.
The Department of Education will also face new leadership, as John King takes over the position of Secretary of Education from Arne Duncan. He has yet to be nominated but King explains that there are many “acting” positions that still wield the same power and influence in policy-making.
The federal government is no longer permitted to initiate competitive-funding opportunities regarding state standards and assessments, but can still advise states on types of practices that are effective due to years of establishing longitudinal data collection services on student achievement. States are still not required to implement these practices but the Department of Education hopes that states will recognize that the advice is useful in creating their own assessments and accountability measures.