The Every Student Succeeds Act calls for state-designed accountability systems, ends the era of No Child Left Behind’s one-size-fits-all approach to accountability, and severely limits the U.S. Department of Education’s power to make policy—e.g., by granting waivers to the law.

  • New state-designed accountability systems must include:
    • Reading and math assessments
    • High school graduation rates
    • Another state determined indicator for elementary and middle schools
    • English language proficiency
    • At least one indicator of school success or student support
      (Note: the first four indicators in the aggregate must weigh more than the fifth on school success/student support)
  • Each state must set college and career-ready standards, as well as goals and targets for progress within student subgroups on some measures.
  • Struggling schools are divided into two categories:
    • Comprehensive support and improvement, defined as the lowest-performing five percent of Title I schools; high schools where less than 67 percent of the students graduate; and schools where a subgroup of students (e.g., low-income, special needs) consistently under-perform on indicators in the aggregate. Schools are identified every three years.
    • Targeted support and improvement, defined as schools where any subgroup of students consistently under-performs or performs as poorly as the lowest-performing schools in the state. Schools are identified annually.
  • School improvement plans—developed by districts for those in the comprehensive category and by the schools themselves for those in the targeted category—must include evidence-based interventions and address resource inequities.
    • If a school in the comprehensive category fails to improve within four years, the state must take more rigorous
    • If a school in the targeted category fails to improve, additional action must be taken after a district-determined number of years.
  • Prohibits the U.S. Secretary of Education from mandating accountability parameters and criteria, the weight given to different elements of accountability plans, how teachers are evaluated, what constitutes teacher effectiveness, and more