The Every Student Succeeds Act will likely have a big impact on state legislative decisions regarding education this year. Under ESSA, states are granted more control, which places a larger burden on state lawmakers to craft legislation that will ultimately improve schools. As Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, said, “In many ways it represents the start of a new time in education where states will have more control over what’s going on. With that control comes additional responsibility.”
Part of the reason that ESSA is focusing more on state control is because the needs of different states are so diverse. In this current legislative session, for instance, Washington state will be focusing on properly and legally funding public schools, while Indiana turns its focus to student learning, operational effectiveness and school improvement.