The unpopular No Child Left Behind Act, which set national standards for primary and secondary education in the U.S., has been replaced.
Back in December, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law.
It gives more control to state governments on how to handle educational issues, but also maintains an outline for standardized testing to measure student performance.
“It gives the decisions back to the local communities the teachers, the parents, the education institutions to be able to make decisions that are unique to their states,” Ruben Murillo, president of the Nevada State Education Association.
He believes the act will allow states like Nevada with large population centers but also several rural areas to address the needs of those vastly different populations.
Murillo said unlike No Child Left Behind which he said used a “blanket approach” from Washington, D.C., ESSA, as it is being nicknamed, will use input from local leaders. But he said that requires engagement from everyone.
“The key to this being successful is for people to understand what is coming down; what opportunities there are to shape at the state level and more importantly at the local level,” he said.
For instance, Murillo said teacher evaluation will not be tied to test scores unless the state wants to do that, which is why teachers and parents need to know what policies they can change.
“The challenge is making sure that our states look at what freedoms they have to make any policy changes unique to Nevada and making sure that the input of constituents, stakeholders such as teachers, support staff, parents, community business, is reflected in those new regulations,” he said.
ESSA will be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year. Murillo said parents won’t necessarily see a change in curriculum but they will see a change in how much influence they can have.
“Parents should be taking a look at what their schools are doing in order to get their voices heard in decisions that are being made at their school,” he said.
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