Supporting Teachers, Leaders,and Local Innovation
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
(ESEA) has directedederal resources to schools or more than our decades to help ensureall children have equal access to a quality education. The most recentreauthorization—or congressional update to the law—occurred with thepassage o the
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
(NCLB). Although ESEAwas due or reauthorization in 2007, NCLB has governed education policyin states and school districts or more than a decade. While waiting orCongress to complete its next reauthorization, the U.S. Department oEducation has oered states exibility rom prescriptive provisions o the lawthat have become barriers to state and local implementation o innovativeeducation reorms. ESEA exibility moves away rom top-down policies,instead supporting decisions inormed by data and expertise at the stateand local levels. All participating states must show how their reorm plansadvance all students’ achievement by maintaining a high bar or studentsuccess, closing achievement gaps, improving the quality o instruction,and increasing equity by better targeting support and resources to schoolsbased on need.
ESEA exibility was designed to provide states and districts with thereedom to oer teachers and school leaders tools and training that notonly will support their states’ vision or reorm, but also lay the groundworkor signifcant instructional transormation. As part o their approvedrequests, states must invest in capacity-building strategies such as high-quality proessional development, improved evaluation systems, andcomprehensive support or teachers and leaders. States must ensure thatteachers and principals receive targeted training to develop classroomand school practices designed to engage all learners in more rigorouscoursework and to help all students become college- and career-ready.States also have the exibility to improve evaluation systems so that theyprovide meaningul indicators o eectiveness and support teachers andleaders by considering both student growth and multiple measures oproessional practices. To improve educator induction, many states areworking with their teacher and principal preparation programs so thatincoming teachers and leaders understand the high bar set by college- andcareer-ready standards and how best to ensure that all students meet them.It is essential that there are highly eective teachers and leaders in schoolsdesigned or success.Through ESEA exibility, the Department will both recognize states or demonstrating success—such as improving theirsystems o support and evaluation or educators—and challenge states that all short o their goals to pursue rigorousreorm eorts that ocus on what is best or students.
*See the Defnition Box.
A ederally unded programproviding fnancial assistance to localeducational agencies and schools orthe purpose o preparing, training, andrecruiting highly-eective teachers andprincipals.
* Race to the Top:
A ederally undedcompetitive grant program initiallyestablished under the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
, designedto advance state education reorm eortsand spur education innovation.
History in Review:
Since it was enacted, ederal unding orESEA has provided billions o dollars orproessional development. Currently, $2.5billion in ESEA Title II* unds are allocatedor teacher and leader training each year,yet local educators have raised concernsas to how these dollars are being spentlocally, and that eective proessionaldevelopment, training, and supportsystems are underunded or not designedto engage teachers in meaningul workthat transorms instructional practices.When adding state and local investmentsin this critical area, upwards o $5 billionhas been targeted annually, with littlesatisaction or connection to studentoutcomes. ESEA exibility will optimizethe ability o states and local districts toapply proessional development dollarsto strategies that will serve to ensure allstudents are college- and career-ready.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION