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New York Task Force Wary of ESSA

“We Commented on No Child Left Behind as Well:” New York Task Force Wary of ESSA

A recent article from Politico further indicates that implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act might not be as smooth as officials had anticipated and certainly would have liked.

According to Politico, New York education stakeholders expressed concern last week after gathering to discuss how the state plans to make changes under the new regulations required under ESSA.

"Some are calling on the state to stand up to the federal education department and its leader, former New York state education commissioner John King Jr., warning that state officials may otherwise lose any trust they have built up in the past year as they've attempted to pacify the turbulent education environment,” the article said.

One task force member even brought up No Child Left Behind, the controversial education legislation that preceded ESSA.

"State comments on the federal draft regulations do not necessarily have any impact on the final regulations, said Schenectady schools Superintendent Larry Spring, who is on the state task force. 'We commented on No Child Left Behind as well, I don’t think it changed a whole lot,' he said,” according to the article.

The concern comes after the task force’s first official meeting to discuss the new legislation. The main concern appeared to be members' beliefs that the regulations are strict despite the legislation being championed as turning more power over to state and local governments.

The task force will continue to meet once a month to ideally create a draft plan after October.

New York educators aren’t the first to express concern over ESSA regulations.

Earlier this month, Colorado officials similarly spoke out against the rigidness of ESSA after closely reviewing the rules.

According to the Colorado Chalkbeat, Colorado officials said they found that 12 percent of ESSA regulations directly conflict with the education law itself.

These officials will be submitting a formal response to the federal government by the end of the month.

One of ESSA’s main architects, Lamar Alexander, told The 74 last week that he hopes ESSA "isn’t implemented in a way that negates Congress’s intent or the goodwill that emerged after its passage.”

Alexander’s intentions when overseeing the drafting of ESSA was to ensure it scaled back the scope of the “national school board,” or the Department of Education.

"Alexander told The 74 said he hopes ESSA enters the pantheon of respected bipartisan domestic policy achievements, legislation like the civil rights laws of the 1960s and Medicare.”

Read more about the New York task force here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor 

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