The Every Student Succeeds Act: what you need to know

In 2015, a bipartisan majority of Congress enacted the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reduced the federal emphasis on testing and gives states and local school districts more flexibility to design accountability measures other than high-stakes testing.

“There is nothing more essential to living up to the ideals of this nation than making sure every child is able to achieve their God-given potential,” President Obama said, thanking then-NEA President Lily Eskelsen García and others who stood next to him at the bill signing.

“We commend Congress for the bipartisan cooperation, leadership, and hard work to get the job done for students and educators,” García said.

In 2019, the US Department of Education waived all statewide assessment, accountability, and reporting requirements in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESSA) for the 2019-20 school year.

Since the onset of the pandemic, TSTA has stressed that schools and educators should not be penalized for changes in attendance and achievement during a health crisis over which they have no control. TSTA opposes the administration of federally mandated English language arts and mathematics assessments until after the COVID-19 crisis has passed. Read our testimony to TEA here.