Tomorrow, December 10, is an important date in the history of public education and school governance. It is the day President Obama signed the landmark Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which restored local governance and community ownership of public education.
ESSA was a significant victory for public education because it reflects a “new federalism” in education policy by redefining the federal role and restoring state and local decision-making authority. It acknowledged the importance of school boards, and recognized the value of their unique knowledge and expertise in serving students. The beneficiaries include the approximately 50 million children in public schools, parents, teachers, administrators and communities.
ESSA was a needed shift in the federal role, one embraced by members of Congress of both parties. However, the very overreach that ESSA was designed to counter, has been re-emerging in regulations from the U.S. Department of Education. NSBA will continue its efforts to ensure the fidelity and intent of ESSA are upheld.
NSBA is committed to equity and excellence in public education through school board governance, and with the onset of a new administration and a new Congress, will amplify the voice of 90,000 school board members across the country, to maintain and strengthen the ability of local districts and school boards to act in the best interests of students, parents, and communities.
-Statement by Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director and CEO of the National School Boards Association.