The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was first passed in 1965, becoming the U.S. Department of Education’s primary funding vehicle for providing resources to the nation’s schools. Every five years since 1965, the “Act” has been modified and reauthorized. Consequently, since it has been a reauthorization of the same Act, the general name, ESEA, has remained the same. The most recent Act was passed by Congress in 2001 and signed into law by the President on January 8, 2002.
In general, the 2001 ESEA Act provides local school districts with more flexibility. However, a caveat to that additional flexibility is that there is increased accountability as well. In addition, there is an increased emphasis on using “what works” (science-based programs and strategies). There are also requirements for increased parental involvement and options and increased opportunities for the involvement of private school children and teachers.