On December 10, after many painful years of wrestling with the heavy-handed No Child Left Behind Act and state waivers that were often more prescriptive than the law itself, educators finally got a new federal law governing PK-12 education. Its replacement, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), promises to return power to the states, reduce accountability burdens, and broaden the scope of support for students with the greatest needs. I join my fellow educators around the country in celebrating these improvements.
Nonetheless, there are lemons lurking among the plums in the new ESSA. This law contains more concessions to reformist entrepreneurs and venture philanthropists than many of us would like. For example, one provision in Title II allows states to create charter-like “academies” for preparing teachers and principals for high-need schools—an idea that has been debated for several years and widely opposed by education organizations. Now that it is part of the law, however, we will do well to heed Maya Angelou’s advice: if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. So let’s celebrate the plums and then get busy making lemonade.
This post also appears on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas web site and is reposted with permission. Ed Prep Matters is featuring “Stories of Impact” to showcase AACTE member institutions with educator preparation programs that are making a positive impact in their communities and beyond through innovative practices. We are committed to sharing members’ success stories and encourage you to do the same.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval addresses the Summit on Nevada Education held at UNLV. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)
Improving education in the Silver State and beyond was the focus of more than 250 educators, policy makers, and community leaders who gathered December 7 for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) inaugural “Summit on Nevada Education.”
The daylong conference, hosted by the UNLV College of Education (COE), drew decision makers from the local, state, and national levels to discuss policy opportunities in the wake of a landmark 2015 Nevada Legislative Session for education. Also front and center were Nevada’s role and impact on the national education conversation and the importance of partnerships to ensure quality education at all levels.