Every Student Succeeds Act

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Every Student Succeeds Act

Georgia’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal is to move every child successfully through the education pipeline to the graduation stage prepared to continue post-secondary education or enter the workforce.

Check here for ESSA research, reports and news coverage.  Posting here does not indicate Partnership endorsement.  Please report any broken links here.

Additional ESSA Resources
Collaborative for Student Success  and Understanding ESSAGeorgia Department of EducationHigher Ed for Higher StandardsNational Conference of State LegislaturesNational Education Policy Center – University of ColoradoThomas B. Fordham InstituteU.S. Department of Education

General Information
Complete analysis of all state ESSA plans: Check State Plans1-minute video. Here’s another fun, short video… Can Republicans and Democrats agree on the value of ESSA? Check and see.  More state plan feedback. Related stories:

The 74 – Opportunity Wasted: Second-Round ESSA Plans Get Largely Lackluster Reviews from Independent Experts

Education Week – Many State ESSA Plans ‘Uncreative, Unambitious,’ Analysis Finds

Politico – Did States Live Up to ESSA Hopes

Every Student Succeeds Act web site

The 74This Week’s ESSA News (posted June 4)

The Georgia Partnership’s Dr. Dana Rickman discussed ESSA and testing issues with AJC education reporter Ty Tagami and Celeste Headlee, host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s On Second Thought. The interview can be found at 2:52 – 13:58.(October 2)

The Georgia Department of Education ESSA plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Education.  Read it here.

This is one of the first external reviews of the state’s plan: Georgia’s education plan gets mixed reviews
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (November 14)

This report is from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute:  Rating the ratings.  Georgia gets high marks. IntroductionMore.

Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education president, Dr. Steve Dolinger, reviewed the Georgia plan and offered his organization’s thoughts in this article in the September/October edition of James Magazine:  Changes Needed to Georgia’s Plan for Education.  Find it on page 31.  Here is a relating story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that includes comments from Dolinger: Testing remains key part of Georgia’s education plan. (September 15)

The Better Standards for a Better Georgia Coalition held an in-depth review and working session of the Georgia Draft Plan to Implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The attendees discussed the overall plan and looked at school and student accountability, as well as Georgia’s school grading system.  You can view a short video summary of that session here, including comments from the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education’s Policy and Research Director, Dr. Dana Rickman. (July 19)

Latest News

How are states handling testing opt-outs under ESSA?
Education Week (June 5)
Can districts use the SAT or ACT for school accountability without state OK?
Education Week (May 30)
How should schools measure student success?
Brookings (May 24)
Opportunities to Use ESSA to Support and Retain New Teachers
Education Commission of the States (May 11)
What ails education? ‘An absence of will and vision, a failure of will and politics’ – Joint commentary from former Secretaries of Education Spellings and Duncan
Washington Post (May 10)
‘Continuous Improvement’ model woven into state ESSA plans
Education Week (May 10)
High standards, school testing: Not an end, but a beginning of education
The Hill (May 7)
Reducing chronic absenteeism under ESSA
Brookings (May 2)
When it comes to educating foster children, are states stepping up to the plate?
Collaborative for Student Success (May 1)
Trump education official to the states:  Don’t forget about reading, math under ESSA
Education Week (April 30)
ESSA requirement for in-depth K-12 funding reports looms
County Administrator (April 26)
Districts are supposed to use evidence to improve schools under ESSA.  Will they?
Education Week (April 23)

ESSA Resources

Hiding in Plain Sight – Leveraging Curriculum to Improve Student Learning
Chiefs for Change

A relatively nascent but powerful body of research suggests that content-rich, standards-aligned, and high-quality curricula exert a powerful influence on student achievement. There is also early evidence that switching to a high-quality curriculum may be a more cost-effective way to raise student achievement than several other school-level interventions. Introduction. (June 7)

State-Level Assessments and Teacher Evaluation Systems After Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act: Some Steps in the Right Direction
National Education Policy Center

Large-scale assessments have come to serve as one of the foundations of accountability-based systems and policies not only for districts, schools and students, but for teachers as well. (June 6)

10+Essential ESSA Resources
New Classrooms

In just a few short months, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will start rolling out in districts and schools across the country.
A host of news outlets and education organizations have amassed a trove of resources to help stakeholders better understand the many opportunities or challenges that could arise from education’s new law of the land. (May 30)

Have States Maintained High Expectations for Student Performance?

This report finds that “proficiency standards on state tests have grown more stringent over the past few years, defying worries that they would be dumbed down” under ESSA. (May 22).

Special Report: Student Testing – What’s Next
Education Week

Change is bubbling in the assessment world. Common standards are reshaping standardized tests. This special report provides a snapshot of these developments and others in the changing field of assessment. (May 15)

College Success Awards – Celebrating High Schools That Prepare Students to Succeed in College (Georgia!)

GreatSchools releases this first-of-its-kind report recognizing and celebrating high schools that excel in ensuring students are prepared for college based on school-level postsecondary data collected and shared by their states. Introduction. Related story. (April 26)

Higher Ed for Higher Standards has issued several reports about ESSA: Leveraging ESSA to Increase College Readiness and Completion. (October 25)

The Rand Corp. has produced U.S. Teachers’ Support of Their State Standards and Assessments – Findings from the American Teacher Panel that provides a critical perspective for district and state policymakers to consider. Related story. (October 12)

(Video – 2 minutes) 5 Things to Know about America’s New Education Law – Every Student Succeeds Act
74 Million (January 16)

What is the Difference Between ESSA and NCLB? (Scroll down to the 3+ minute video)
Education Week (January 19)

Quality Counts Report
Education Week (January 4)

The 21st edition examines what states and districts are doing to make ready for the Every Student Succeeds Act’s implementation, and offers state-by-state grades for how the nation’s schools are faring on a range of educational measures.

ESSA Webinar Hosted by the Better Georgia Coalition – December 6, 2016
If you missed the Better Standards for a Better Georgia ESSA Coalition event, you may now review the presentation here:

Audio Recording of the Webinar
Webinar PowerPoint
ESSA Scorecard
Analysis of Georgia’s Current School Accountability Measures – The Center for State and Local Finance – Georgia State University
ESSA Overview and Indicators PowerPoint

Check the ESSA Archive page for earlier resource items.

Key ESSA Messages

There are multiple groups that have a stake in the success of ESSA.  What are those groups and what are the key messages they should consider about the Act?

Multiple group messaging:

  • Georgia’s future relies on all of our young people receiving a high quality education… Unfortunately, too many of our students don’t have access to the high-quality education they need.  This is particularly true for low-income students and students of color.
  • It is urgent we work to close this achievement gap. Over the past several years, Georgia has worked hard to improve our schools by making investments in efforts that create high academic standards, high-quality assessments aligned to those standards, and ways to ensure that schools are serving all students well. And we’ve seen some progress.


  • Unfortunately, too many of our students still don’t have access to the high-quality education they need.  This is particularly true for low-income students and students of color.
  • Georgia is working on its plan on how to improve our schools and support our teachers so that we can build on our recent progress and better serve all our students.
  • Educators have invaluable insights as to the best ways to help their students succeed, and so it’s crucial that you make your voices heard as Georgia develops and implements this plan.  For example, we have the opportunity to make sure the plan gives teachers the power and flexibility to modify lessons based on how their students learn.
  • We all have responsibility to come together to move education in Georgia forward – rather than backtracking – to help ensure that our schools are strong bridges to opportunity so all students can succeed in college and beyond.

Business Leaders

Georgia Department of Education is currently writing its ESSA plan and will submit it to U.S. DOE in September.  There will be a public comment time.  As a business leader, you can make your voice heard and help ensure this plan truly prepares students for success in the workforce.

  • We all have the responsibility to come together to move education forward – rather than backtracking – to help ensure our schools are strong bridges to opportunity so all young Georgians are ready to become tomorrow’s teachers, innovators, workers and business and civic leaders.


  • Congress has shifted the responsibility of educating our children to our state and local communities.  Now, Georgia is taking the lead on deciding how to improve our schools and prepare our students for success and college and the workforce.
  • Over the past several years, Georgia has been working hard to help all our students have the quality teachers, high expectations, and support they need to graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers.  We’ve seen great signs of progress.
  • Now it’s up to all Georgians to build on our progress by staying the course with our investments in high academic standards, high-quality assessments aligned to those standards, and ways to ensure that schools are serving all our students well.
  • Here in Georgia we’re proud to have strong communities and strong communities create strong schools.  Under ESSA, our local communities – including education leaders, policymakers, parents, teachers and business and civic leaders – must come together now to improve our schools.


  • Parents’ involvement and voices are crucial parts of a high-quality education.  Most parents, some juggling multiple jobs, are working incredibly hard to take care of their children and want them to succeed in high school and beyond.
  • Unfortunately, too many students and families don’t have access to a high-quality education .  This is particularly true for low-income students and students of color.
  • Georgia is working on its ESSA plan to ensure hard-working students and parents – regardless of their circumstances – don’t fall through the cracks.  This plan will be aimed at strengthening schools and teachers so that they can give families the support they need to be successful. Look for the plan and an opportunity to comment this summer.
  • All Georgians have a responsibility to move education forward – rather than backtracking – to help ensure that our schools are strong bridges to opportunity so all students are able to gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in high school and beyond.