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Local Superintendent Reacts to New Federal Education Law: Every - KOAM TV 7

Local Superintendent Reacts to New Federal Education Law: Every Student Succeeds Act

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   There's a new law of the land when it comes to education and it brings more local control. The four hundred page Every Child Succeeds Act, came after years of concerns about teaching to the test and federal dollars tied those outcomes under no child left behind.

President Obama signed the bi-partisan bill December 7th, ending the ‘No Child Left Behind’ era and replacing the old education law with the Every Student Succeeds Act. 

A local school superintendent is glad.

Dr. Shelly Martin in Parsons says No Child Left Behind had good goals and got administrators to delve into data but it also had shortcomings.  She says, "The overemphasis on one test, one point in time, sometimes to the exclusion of about anything else. The sanctions, kind of took away from the total child in some cases."

While annual testing will continue for students in third through eighth grades and once in high school, now states will create their own assessments of students and schools overall progress.

The new education law completely eliminates the concept of adequate yearly progress.

Dr. Martin says that was a challenge because, "Every single group, every single year had to make yearly adequate progress. Not just by race, English language learners, income level, boys, girls.

Every group, every year, every grade and one group doesn't make it, you don't make adequate yearly progress. And some times that discounts the progress you have made as a school or as a district."

The superintendent says one big difference is getting rid of the upcoming teacher sanctions when it came to student progress..

Dr. Martin says, "Teacher evaluations were going to be tied to student performance. And in effect that’s a dis-incentive for teachers to go the schools where students have the highest need."

In Parsons, Communities in Schools helps kids in need through a clothes closet, food, and mentors all managed by an on site coordinator.

 Lashawn Taylor the affiliate director at Southeast Kansas for Communities in Schools says, "We work with some academic barriers and non- academic barriers. We do wrap around services. We find resources in the community that would serve that child and the family to make sure that child comes to school and stays in school." 

And the new law allows for Title one funding to be used for programs like Communities in Schools that have data to document their success.  But that gives it the potential to expand to more schools.

     Under the new education law, states must identify high schools that graduate less than sixty-seven percent of their students and the bottom five percent of schools.

     Districts first get to adopt their own evidence based interventions. If there’s no improvement, states could intervene.

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