Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

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In December 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the most comprehensive federal education funding legislation, last passed in 2001 as No Child Left Behind.

In January 2016, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) held two regional public meetings in Washington DC and Los Angeles on Title I of ESSA and accepted written comments from the public. Our members testified at both hearings and we submitted a comment letter to ED urging the Department to provide assistance to states through the issuance of guidance, regulations and technical assistance to help implement Title I’s provisions related to: school climate and safety as an indicator of school quality and student success; parent and family engagement and inclusion; state and LEA plan reporting on discipline; and the re-integration of system-involved students into the educational system.

On February 23, 2016 the Congressional Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing entitled: ESSA Implementation in States and School Districts: Perspectives from Education Leaders. You can watch the hearing here


The links below provide information on ESSA and DSC comment letters for implementation. 

The Dignity in Schools Campaign's federal recommendations for the reauthorization of the ESEA include: 

  • Mandatory data collection on school discipline from all schools. 
  • Accountability mechanisms for addressing discipline and implementing best practices in the lowest performing schools, and 
  • Funding for Restorative Justice Practices and School-wide Positive Behavior Supports (SWPBIS)
  • Parental involvement in developing school discipline codes
  • Requiring states to describe how they will reduce suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement and other actions that remove students from instruction 
  • Funding-Competitive grants for school partnerships with community-based organizations. 

Below you will find more resources on ESSA implementation and an archive of background information on the ESEA and tools to help your federal advocacy.