Today President Obama signed into law, S.1177, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bill which would make up for the short comings of No Child Left Behind. This new legislation would shift the authority to make very important education decisions to the states, when it comes to accountability, school turnarounds, and more.
While this provides a great opportunity for states to tailor their education systems to the needs of their students, this new level of authority also will require an increased amount of responsibility for states to ensure that they close achievement gaps between traditionally overlooked groups of students within local education agencies (LEA).
The American Counseling Association (ACA) applauds the passage of the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (S. 1177/ESSA). We believe the final bill makes important strides to support all students in having the opportunity to receive a quality education. While ACA had advocated for a stronger federal role in the accountability system, we feel that this bill is stronger for the most vulnerable students than the No Child Left behind Act (NCLB).
Although The Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP) was consolidated into a larger block grant with many other programs, this could potentially put school counselors and other specialized instruction personnel first in line for federal funds.
We would like to thank Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) for her un-wavering commitment and significant efforts to assure that school based mental health and career counseling services for all students were fully included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The American Counseling Association stands ready to work with states and LEAs across the nation to ensure they are implementing measures that will help provide school based mental health counseling and career counseling to students who need it most.
For more information on the Every Student Succeeds Act, please click here.