How the ESSA update will impact disadvantaged students
With President Obama signing the new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, many are wondering what effect the changes in schools will have on minority students, students with disabilities and low-income students.
Some worry the gap between students will not be narrowed with the adoption of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Professor of education at the University of California, Los Angeles and director of the Center for the Study of School Transformation, Pedro Noguera, told NPR that he fears ESSA furthers the belief that we can minimize inequality and increase academic outcomes simply by focusing on schools.
Interestingly enough, ESSA is the most current version of the Johnson administration’s Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965, which heavily addressed poverty and underserved students. During the 1970s, large scale gains were made in closing the gaps in academic achievement as school integration and poverty were focused on abundantly.
The situation is often bleak where poverty is heavily concentrated. Unless as a nation we are able to invest in schools the way we did in the past, we can’t expect to see inequalities disappear. The hope is that with focusing on schools at the local level, officials can more effectively pinpoint issues and in turn determine viable solutions for those problems.
It is in our best interest that all children receive quality education. As a nation, we cannot afford to have large numbers of individuals who are under-educated and stuck in low-income jobs. The best way to an equitable society is to focus on education and providing individuals with the proper set of skills necessary to enter and flourish in the workforce.
The Every Student Succeds Act may help rebalance inequality. Though many believe it’ll be up to the next President and Secretary of Education and whether they focus more on teaching and learning, versus placing the spotlight on assessment, as we’ve seen so readily in the past.