On Thursday, President Barack Obama signed the overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The new policy, named the Every Student Succeeds Act, is a new direction for federal education policy, which has been defined for the past 13 years by the controversial NCLB.

The Every Student Succeeds Act is billed as different from its predecessor given that it allows state and local decision-makers to have more power over making school improvements. Previously, many were unhappy with what they saw as “cookie cutter” federal solutions to local school issues.

Additionally, while Every Student Succeeds will maintain an emphasis on annual assessments, it plans to do away with some of the mandatory testing that was seen as onerous and excessive by many educators and parents under NCLB. It does seem as though Every Student Succeeds will continue to flag underperforming schools, such as those with high dropout rates or where a certain section of the student population is struggling.


So will Every Student Succeeds leave us in a better place than we were with NCLB? Well, the new act certainly passed with bipartisan support, meaning at least that many members of Congress and their constituents are excited to usher in a new era. But it did take some wrangling of the many interest groups within the field of education to get Every Student Succeeds passed.

However, at least a few voices wonder whether completely scrapping NCLB was the right approach. The research into NCLB’s success on student outcomes seems mixed, and some wonder if tinkering with it, rather than moving on to something else would have been the better approach.

Overall, it seems that most of the U.S. was ready to embrace a new direction when it comes to education policy, and Every Student Succeeds, even if not perfect, will take the country in a bold new direction when it comes to our students.


(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Stefani is a writer and urban planner based in Oakland, CA. She holds a master’s in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s in Human Biology from Stanford University. In her free time she is often found reading diverse literature, writing stories, or enjoying the outdoors.  Follow her on Twitter: @stefanicox