Education is for all! To ensure this, the United States of America passed a law for public schools in the country. This principle law for education in the USA is the Every Student Succeeds Act or ESSA. The authorities reframed and renamed the earlier Education Law “No Child Left Behind,” functional since 2002 to ESSA. This law covers the educational rights of the children of America, helps identify talented students, and makes sure they can access education and progress in the future.
What is ESSA?
Former President Barack Obama passed the ESSA law in 2015 so that nobody in public schools faces discrimination in terms of education and everyone avail equal education opportunities. This law is valid for even special education. The country’s progress relies on children. Barack Obama sat with educators, teachers, and parents to formulate a new law with a primary focus on reducing the number of school dropouts.
What are the aims of ESSA?
The aim of ESSA is to provide quality education to children irrespective of their race, caste, creed, status state, financial status, color, etc., in public schools. The law identifies the pivotal role of schools in shaping the future of the nation’s children. The ESSA helps in making the education system effective in the US. This law was enacted to ensure that children facing discrimination are seen equally and have equal rights to education. ESSA helps to uplift the education of children with special needs and ensure that they receive inclusive education.
ESSA is formed of action plans which are focused on and strategized in a way to improve the quality of education in public schools. The federal government has given a framework that needs to be followed by the state and should be included in the state plan. This law provides a unique opportunity for the parents and the caregivers to connect with the student’s education. It is important for them to understand, reflect and remark on the plans. The parents and the caregivers are made aware of the syllabus and the education being imparted to their children at school. This will help the parents to give feedback to the school teachers about the education system that is being followed.
ESSA also ensures that the children could learn new and innovative things and start thinking out of the box. High-quality education with innovative ways of teaching is encouraged from the preschool level. ESSA also has funding facilities for schools with an innovative structure for educating children. Many towering businesspersons grant funds for academic achievements.
Pros of ESSA
Everything has its pros and cons. The pros of ESSA are stated below.
1. Test results are not regarded to test the Teacher’s performance.
Generally, when a student fails to fare well in the exam, there are consequences that the teacher faces. It is incorrect to assess a teacher on the performance of the students. This will demotivate the teachers. In fact, assessing the student about marks in examinations is a questionable instance. Emphasis should be on overall performance to ensure the growth of the student rather than the academic result. In ESSA, the examination achievement is not linked with the grading of the teacher. The teachers’ increment is not based on the student’s results.
2. Value-based learning is achieved within the public school students of K-12.
For eons, children born in wealthy houses received a good education. To negate the situation, ESSA promotes protection for students coming from backward families with a history of struggle against discrimination. It also assists to provide help to the students who are first-generation learners and face problems in contemporary classrooms. ESSA makes sure that every child equally receives an education.
3. Medium of communication between teachers and parents
A very important aspect of education is to connect the teachers and the parents. It is necessary for the parents to know what is going on in the school. ESSA has made it a point to ensure this. The parents, educators, caregivers, and students- all are aware of the teaching process and progress in schools through direct communication. This helps the parents to know the status of education and knowledge imbibed by their children. The students also receive updates about how they are progressing. The teacher-parent communication also helps to make sure that their child receives a quality education.
4. Promotion of innovation methods that are renowned locally
Different communities exist within the nation, and such communities use their traditional method of teaching. This legislature helps in promoting the local method of teaching. Teachers and administrators encouraging the students with their innovative local ways of teaching are preferred to receive grants. This will uplift and inspire them to think outside the conventional system at the same time.
5. Participation of the Federal Government through stipulation of the grant
The ESSA has allowed the states to create their own education solution, but the federal government can still control the grants. Authorities further updated ESSA to motivate the hiring process of teachers who thinks differently, are more dependent on field-based teaching, etc., in public schools. To encourage teachers to work in public schools, ESSA provides grants to teachers who would agree to teach in a school with low-performing students and rather uplift their performance and also encourage them.
Cons of ESSA
There are two sides to a coin. Even though ESSA is a celebrated and highly approved law for education in public schools in the US, there are certain points that need to be looked at to make this a success.
1. Maintaining a quo status in areas where the previous strategies did not work.
The ESSA seemed to have changed only in the length of pages. The act’s concerns are more or less similar to the previous acts based on education in public schools. The law counts on the testing to produce accountability outcomes. This is not a reliable tool for measuring the failure or success of the students. The main change done in this domain is shifting the responsibility for implementing the act to states from the federal government.
2. The federal government is sidelined
In order to respect the traditional teaching of various states, territories, and districts, ESSA has given the authority to states to use their own techniques of this teaching. This has created a patchwork system. Different states use different ways of accountability, which make the system complicated. There is very less scope for Federal Government to intervene in the situation or make major amends. A system should be created that has a similar line of accountability for all states. This will create the system simple. A blended act should be made which have equal involvement of the federal as well as the state government.
3. Lack of effort to flag the main cause of inequality
The ESSA is a flag-bearer of equity. Nevertheless, it focuses on accountability by seeing the evaluation scores and the classroom ambiance in the K-12 system. Economic instability can cause problems in the concentration of the students. This may lead to their inconsistency in their education. The problem of poverty needs to be addressed by the nation first to spread education among all children.
4. The closure of schools affects the students of vulnerable communities.
ESSA has a mandatory testing method. This retreats the focus of the law from anti-poverty areas. For a long, poverty has been a barrier to education. So, when these students visit schools as first-generation learners, they generally get low scores due to lower exposure or lack of accessibility to education. Closure of schools based on how the students perform will deprive many students of acquiring education. While ESSA speaks about equity, these instances lead to cowing down of the whole cause of the Act.
In the years to come, there will be updates, reframing, and renewal of laws. The major element that must be revisited is the evaluation techniques for the schools. The grades and test scores cannot define students. There is a dire need for proper research and appropriate problem addressing. This way, the whole operation will be effective. The socio-economic factors should be kept in mind and require a more complex solution than ESSA.
This law has tried to create equality regarding receiving education in local public schools. The willingness of the US to hold the school accountable for success and address the core needs of the schools should be the primary focus to create a successful future for all the children of the nation.