It took eight years for Congress to replace No Child Left Behind. The usually divided House and Senate agreed the program needed to get left behind, but how to move forward with a new education bill plagued lawmakers until today. Passed by the House last week and today by the Senate, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is expected to be signed into law by President Obama tomorrow.
Obviously, this is big news for all educators, but we know you’re wondering how this will affect you and your clients. Neil Snyder, director of ASHA federal advocacy, will offer a detailed answer to that question in the February Leader. Meanwhile, here’s a preview of some highlights:
ESSA puts in place a state-level participation cap for students with disabilities. The cap states that 1 percent of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities can take an alternate assessment aligned with different academic achievement standards.
The bill also incorporates four key policy concepts ASHA sought:
- Adding more flexibility by expanding “early intervening services” in the law.
- Preserving a federal role in literacy that includes school-based audiologists and speech-language pathologists.
- Increasing professional development opportunities for ASHA’s school-based members.
- Adopting the new term “specialized instructional support personnel” in lieu of the antiquated “pupil services personnel.”
To compare these ESSA highlights with No Child Left Behind, read NPR’s obituary for the recently deceased act.
More from The Leader on education policy: