Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

President Obama Signs Every Student Succeeds Act

Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon

The signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is an historic milestone for America's school boards.

"NSBA applauds lawmakers for restoring local governance and working with our public education stakeholders to end the prescriptive requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act – strengthening the ability of states and local school board members to act in the best interests of students, parents, and local communities." - NSBA Executive Director Tom Gentzel

Read NSBA's full statement.

The Latest

Between now and August 18, 2016, the U. S. Department of Education is collecting input from stakeholders on the educational and technical assistance needs of states and school districts. The input received will inform priorities for the next grant cycle of Regional Educational Laboratories as part of the Comprehensive Centers program. To provide input you can go to the Regional Advisory Committee portal and respond to the 5-question survey by clicking Needs Sensing Survey. To identify yourself as a local school board member in question #2, please use the “Other” option and write in school board member. NSBA’s Legislative Priorities for implementation of ESSA are available for reference. Read more on our Regional Advisory Handout.

On July 29, 2016, NSBA submitted comments in response to the U.S. Department of Education's (Department) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act—Accountability and State Plans, ED—2016—OESE—0032, published by the Department on May 31, 2016. In the comments NSBA highlights seven areas of concern and includes recommendations for amending the proposed regulations in a manner that reaffirms ESSA's restoration of local governance and community ownership of public education.

NSBA’s Response to the Department of Education’s Inquiry for Public Comments on ESSA. Read more

On February 10, 2016, NSBA joined nine other national groups to form the State and Local ESSA Implementation Network. The Network delivered a letter to Acting Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. expressing its commitment to work together to make certain congressional intent is honored.  NSBA is working to ensure that state and local governance - a hallmark of ESSA - is embedded at every level of implementation.

On February 10, 2016, NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel sent a letter to the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Seconday Education asking lawmakers to excercise their oversight authority to ensure that the U.S. Department of Education upholds the local governance structure as established in ESSA. 

On January 20, 2016, NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel provided written comments on ESSA's implementation in response to the U.S. Department of Education's request for information.

On January 11, 2016, NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel provided NSBA's recommendations on ESSA implementation during ED's regional meeting. Visit the U.S. Department of Education live stream site to view the testimony. 

On December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law. The signing represents a significant move forward for local governance and NSBA stands committed to working with and through our State Associations for ESSA’s implementation in support of equity and excellence in public education.

For up-to-the-minute updates, follow us on Twitter: @NSBAComm.

Get the latest news and official statements from NSBA on NSBAwire.

Resources for School Board Members

Read the U.S. Department of Education "Dear Colleague" letter to state leaders on the transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Read our latest Issue Brief on Every Student Succeeds Act - July 18, 2016

Read our primer on what the Every Student Succeeds Act means for local school boards, including a transition timetable and frequently asked questions.

View a summary of the Every Student Succeeds Act framework with NSBA's commentary.

Use our media toolkit to help you communicate your support for the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Read the Congressional Research Service (CRS) memorandum analyzing the supplement, not supplant regulations the U.S. Department of Education proposed during the negotiated rulemaking process.

Our Actions

Review our list of actions taken in support of ESEA reauthorization and the Every Student Succeeds Act, including letters sent to Congress in support of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

NSBA in the News

NSBA has been voicing its support for the Every Student Succeeds Act in the press:




  • NYSSBA's On Board - December 14, 2015
    Executive Director Tom Gentzel wrote this article for the New York State School Board Association's bi-monthly newspaper "On Board.". Read more
  • Congressional Quarterly* - December 2, 2015
    After passage in the House, Executive Director Tom Gentzel was interviewed and quoted in this examination of ESSA. Read more*
    *Please Note: Access to this article requires a subscription to CQ.

Press Releases

Check back for more updates.


The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the main federal law supporting public schools, is intended to support accountability of states, school districts, and schools for improving the academic performance of all.

First enacted in 1965, ESEA was scheduled for reauthorization in 2007. Instead, various provisions were extended through congressional appropriations legislation. In December 2015, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act as a new reauthorization of ESEA. Read more

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