It is now official! President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act today after the US Senate passed it yesterday. No Child Left Behind is dead. Welcome to a new era. While there is certainly more flexibility in this bill, it almost seems as though Governor Markell and the Delaware DOE have been carefully setting things up in anticipation of what was in the final bill. Which makes me wonder how much was known to Governors and state DOEs ahead of time. And I’m talking years ahead of time.
We have a bizarre new charter school Race To The Top embedded in here, which will cause a feeding frenzy in Delaware once the charter “moratorium” is lifted. And if the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission plan for the redistricting in Wilmington, look for Red Clay’s board to be very busy with new charter applications in the coming years.
For teachers, they got some leeway on evaluations stemming from standardized test scores, but the perks for teacher prep programs like Teach For America and Relay Graduate School will make sure we see an increase in this practice in Delaware.
Standardized testing is still here, and unless the General Assembly votes to get rid of Smarter Balanced (which they should), we are stuck with it for the next five years. Which means we are also stuck with Common Core as well, even though the ESSA gives states leeway on making their own state standards (but they still have to be approved by the US Secretary of Education). Students in 3rd to 8th grade still have to be “standardized” with the state assessment, and once in high school. For opt-out, the bill states it is up to the states to handle it. The House Bill 50 veto by Markell can’t happen fast enough.
I will be going into this legislation more in-depth in the coming weeks and picking it apart, piece by piece. I started to do that, but a lot happened between now and then. Fighting it took up a lot of time, but even though it passed, more folks are aware of what is going on because of the fight, so it was worth it.