The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed December 10, 2015. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. The new law builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents, and students across the country.
ESSA includes provisions that will help to ensure success for students and schools. Some of the features included in the law are:
- advances equity by upholding critical protections for America's disadvantaged and high-need students,
- requires that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers,
- ensures that vital information is provided to all stakeholders concerning annual statewide assessments that measure students' progress,
- helps to support and grow local innovations,
- maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools.
- Title I schools now implement specific programs and interventions and academic progress is reported using the College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI). The CCRPI serves as a comprehensive report card for all schools in Georgia.
The purpose of Federal education program funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is to provide local school systems and their schools with supplemental financial resources and assistance in order to ensure equitable access to a high-quality education, regardless of student economic status or other equity factors. Under a variety of recent state-granted flexibility structures (waivers), all Georgia school systems have the opportunity to pursue flexibility in exchange for agreeing to measures that will ensure that all students receive an equitable and high-quality education from effective educators. Federal program funds in Georgia supplement and support the programs and strategies that help all students thrive through these existing school system flexibility structures and systems.
While Federal funding comes to Baker County through a variety of funding sources with specific intents and purposes, school systems and schools are required to coordinate these Federal funding allocations into their existing flexibility agreements in a manner that ensures that the intent and purpose of each Federal program is maintained. In support of systems autonomy, school systems may consolidate planning efforts (improvement planning, strategic plans and charter/ strategic waiver applications) thereby allowing school systems the benefit of carrying forward our existing flexibility structures and systems with the logical integration of Federal funding where and when its defined use is best suited.
We apply for our Federal funds through a consolidated application process to GaDOE. The application requires systems to identify the methods through which the intent and purpose(s) of each Federal program will be integrated into the system's existing academic achievement targets and efforts towards continuous improvement. Responses as to how the system will meet Federal program requirements, as defined in ESSA, are submitted in the consolidated application through the lens of the LEAs’ flexibility structure. Where very unique and targeted Federal funding streams exist, e.g., School improvement funds for Comprehensive and Targeted support, IDEA, homeless, migrant, and rural, we must expand on the identified needs for these populations or schools within our Federal consolidated funding application. This may require school systems and schools to delve more deeply into the root causes of the academic deficiencies of these schools and populations. Through its consolidated application, GaDOE supplies CNA tools to support this important aspect of the problem-solving process – examining progress. In summary, when existing targets do not allow for the inclusion of Federal funds, systems must define the needs as part of their consolidated application for Federal funding.