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 few 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, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015.
In general, the ESEA/ESSA Act of 2015 includes provisions that will help ensure success for students and schools. Listed below are a few highlights of the law:
- Advances equity by upholding critical protections for America's disadvantaged and high-need students.
- Requires for the first time, that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers.
- Ensures that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students' progress toward those high standards.
- Helps to support and grow location innovations, including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators, consistent with our investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods.
- Sustains and expands this administration's historic investments in increasing access to high-quality preschool.
- Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time.
The major federal educational programs authorized under the ESEA/ESSA are Title I, Part A; Title I, Part C; Title I, Part D; Title II, Part A; Title III, Title IV Subpart 1 & 2; Title V, Subpart 1 & 2; and Title IX, McKinney-Vento Homeless Education.
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