Every Student Succeeds Act does not differ sharply from No Child Left Behind law

Jordan Matsudaira is an economist who studies the impact of education and labor market policies and institutions on the outcomes of low-income Americans.  He previously served as Chief Economist of the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House. He says that the new act to replace the No Child Left Behind Law is not all that different.

Matsudaira says:

“The Every Student Succeeds Act is law is remarkable mostly in that it happened at all in this contentious legislative environment.  In many ways ESSA looks more like the old No Child Left Behind Law than not, and in particular may do little to affect the amount of testing in schools or whether those tests are influenced by the Common Core.

“Whether that happens will depend on how states and districts alter policies they adopted in pursuit of waivers to NCLB—while there’s less federal force behind those policies now, it’s not at all obvious local officials will undo these reforms. With the exception of new money for preschool, the law aims to be addition by subtraction—it aims to improve education by rolling back the federal government’s role. While research on the impact of many school interventions required by NCLB or waivers shows mixed results, overall NCLB has been shown to have moderately increased achievement among African American and low-income students, especially in math.”



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