Guest blog: Steven Baule, Superintendent of the Muncie Community Schools in Muncie, Indiana:
The new Every Student Succeeds Act has become law as of last week. Some summaries of the law include the US Senate, the White House, USA Today, Education Week, and Brietbart Blog. There seems to be a great deal of excitement about the new law from a wide variety of sources. One of my librarians sent me a link to an AASL article extoling the virtues of the new law as a great opportunity for school libraries to be more valued. Others have focused on the possibility of computer adaptive testing to provide more accurate results from required testing. The National Education Association (the nation’s largest teachers’ union) included a graphic in its summary on how standardized testing can be limited under the new law. The removal of the need for teacher evaluations to be tied to student performance may be one of the most important changes in the law. There will be changes to the Title II grant stream, as analyzed by Ed Week, and Education Drive feels the new law further supports Pre-K initiatives. The direct impact on technology funding won’t be fully understood until states and districts begin to implement the new law, but it appears there will be more flexibility in the use of federal funds overall. When any massive law like this is embraced as an exceptional change, I am filled with a bit of trepidation. Federal law making is all about the details and often about the perspective as well. It will take time to see if the ESSA will have the positive impact on public education that its heralds are currently predicting or if it will fail to provide the changes desired.