The Product of Bipartisan Cooperation, the Every Student Succeed Act Belongs to Local Leaders, Educators


The Every Student Succeeds Act, which was signed into law to restore greater control to state and local leaders over education, is an opportunity to address problems within our school systems, writes Edward Gaston in LA Sentinel – and we agree.

The article’s headline, “Why We Must Defend Obama’s Every Student Succeeds Act,” however, suggests ownership of the ESSA belongs solely to President Obama. Certainly, President Obama deserves credit for signing the legislation into law. But it is a product of broad bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers, and the true torchbearers are the local leaders and educators who will implement change. The law makes clear that states are in control.

Congressman John Kline (R-PA), former chairman of the House Education Committee, called the Every Student Succeeds Act a “huge win for conservatives” for empowering states and districts with greater autonomy over education. ESSA, he pointed out, affords parents with more choice and reduces the “federal footprint in education.”

ESSA entrusts communities, parents and educators to make the best decisions for their kids. With that increased freedom, Delaware Governor Jack Markell pointed out last fall, also comes greater responsibility. States and school districts should continue to raise the academic bar for students and insist on meaningful accountability.

Gaston acknowledges the important role families and communities play and he is right in stating: “Participating in the process to encourage every student to succeed is an ongoing necessity and investment that must be made by each of us in order for there to be a harvest of success.”