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New education bill does away with onerous No Child Left Behind Act

by Sharita Forrest / Dec 10, 2015

Lizanne DeStafano

Lizanne DeStafano, professor emerita in Department of Educational Psychology 

After several years of failed efforts, Congress recently passed a new education bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The bill, signed into law by President Obama Dec. 10, replaces the controversial No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy.

Lizanne DeStefano, professor emerita of the Department of Educational Psychology, said ESSA is remarkable because of the bipartisan support it has received and because of the federal government’s reduced role in education. DeStefano said that under ESSA, the U.S. Department of Education will not be able to tell states how or when to assess, and the role of assessment in evaluating teachers and schools will be gone.

“That is a significant change, and I think it will really affect the way that state education agencies and school districts behave,” DeStefano said in an interview with Illinois News Bureau education editor Sharita Forrest.

Under the less onerous mandates of NCLB, DeStefano said states and localities will have more freedom to tailor their teacher evaluations and improve schools. ESSA also removes the mandate that all students meet achievement standards, an unreachable goal, according to DeStefano.

“ESSA changes the criteria to every student making progress. People both inside and outside education see that as a more reasonable approach,” she said.

Read the full interview.