Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA] – Signed / Impact to GT Students
As President Obama signs the ESSA legislation, we get to say good-bye to the No Child Left Behind Act that started out as a good intentioned bi-partisan piece of legislation (Kennedy and Bush) but eventually took on a life of its own. Hopefully, ESSA will have a different legacy.
There is some wonderful news in ESSA for gifted students. One area I am particularly excited about is that states and districts will now have to report on achievement (and hopefully growth) related to our gifted and talented students:
On the state report cards:
States must include student achievement data at each achievement level that is disaggregated by student subgroup. Previously, states provided detailed information for students performing at the proficient level and below. Now, states also will have to include information on students achieving at the advanced level.
In applying for Title II professional development funds, states must include information about how they plan to improve the skills of teachers and other school leaders that will enable them to identify gifted and talented students and provide instruction based on the students' needs.
And on the District level:
Districts ("local education agencies" in ESSA) must collect, disaggregate, and report their student achievement data at each achievement level, as the states are required to do.
Districts that receive Title II professional development funds must use the money to address the learning needs of all students. ESSA specifically says that "all students" includes gifted and talented students.
I believe, since GT is a categorical in Colorado set under the Exceptional Child Act, and since we already have data broken out for our ALP children, this is more of a district requirement that we will need to clearly report on the growth / achievement of our ALP students.
We still have a bit of work to do at the state level, to advocate for competency based discussions to clearly include our advanced learners, and their above grade level performance and how we take that into our competency based policies.
The NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) four page overview can be seen here for your reading pleasure.
I am very hopeful for ESSA, turning to a new chapter in honoring and challenging our GT learners. It's great for our state economy, employers and most importantly, our ALP students.
All the best,