The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the current federal law for K-12 public education which aims to ensure all children get a quality education. The law outlines how states can use federal money to support public schools and requires that states hold public schools accountable for how students achieve.
ESSA promotes educational equity, which means that all students succeed and thrive in school no matter who they are, where they live, or where they go to school. Accountability systems help make this possible by sparking an honest conversation about what schools are doing well and what they need to do to improve. Accountability systems provide opportunities to learn from high-performing schools and direct funds and resources to districts and schools that need to improve.
The new law builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents and students across the country.
For example, today, high school graduation rates are at all-time highs. Dropout rates are at historic lows. And more students are going to college than ever before. These achievements provide a firm foundation for further work to expand educational opportunity and improve student outcomes under ESSA.