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NEA President Expresses Excitement Over Changes Under ESSA

NEA President Expresses Excitement Over Changes Under NEA President Expresses Excitement Over Changes Under ESSA

If there’s one person that’s happy about the potential education changes under Every Student Succeeds Act, it’s National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.

In a recent interview with NPR, Garcia discussed what changes she think PK-12 education will go through under the newly enacted education legislation. For the most part, she’s confident these changes will be in the best interest of every student moving forward.

For one, Garcia is especially pleased with the new provisions that she believes will limit high-stakes testing. With the overhaul of what she refers to as “No Child Left Untested,” she thinks that testing will become much more meaningful and much less- well, standardized.

Garcia championed the end of Adequate Yearly Progress, which she says is a victory for public schools everywhere.

"The federal government is no longer requiring that states do things like close down schools, fire half the staff, remove the principal, give students, uh, charter schools while they shutter their neighborhood public schools. That's gone. And what we replace it with is an opportunity. And the opportunity will now meet — or not — its goals state by state,” she said to NPR.

And it will become easier to determine what states are not meeting goals. The requirement of much more data from states has Garcia confident that those not doing their part will easily be exposed and held accountable.

"We got language in there that even our best friends said, 'You're never getting in." And those two little words make all the difference in the world in this big old legislation. We said on this dashboard, you have to have multiple indicators of success.’”

While ESSA has been championed as a solution to many of the country’s problems under NCLB, the law has already received its first challenge. Intended to give more power back to local and state governments, the legislation’s architect Sen. Lamar Alexander has already challenged the Department of Education for overreach.

Reading Garcia’s unabashed optimism about the legislation is refreshing in the weeks following.

Read the full interview.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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