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Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

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The Elementary Secondary Education Act is now known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (Pub.L. 114–95). ESSA was signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015. ESSA is a reauthorization of the ESEA (Pub.L. 89-10, 79 Stat. 27, 20 U.S.C. ch.70), the federal statute which funds primary and secondary education; emphasizes equal access to education, establishes high standards and accountability, and aims to shorten the achievement gaps between students by providing each child with fair and equal opportunities to achieve an exceptional education.

There are substantial changes to ESSA which create new flexibility in accountability and eliminate federally-mandated interventions and turn around strategies. The highly qualified teacher requirements are gone -- replaced by a requirement that teachers must meet state certification requirements. The ESSA does maintain the basic architecture of standards-based reform and annual assessment requirements and sates must cap at 1 percent of all students the application of alternate academic achievement standards and the use of the alternate assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

COPAA works actively on ESSA because students with disabilities have benefited greatly from the law’s continued requirement for their academic achievement to be measured, reported and included in school and district accountability decisions along with their peers. As a result, more students with disabilities have been afforded the opportunity to learn, master grade level academic content and graduate high school with their peers.

Click here for more details on the changes included in ESSA.


Onging Advocacy

COPAA remains engaged in ESSA oversight to ensure that states implement the law in the way it was designed – to include all students in state standards, assessments and accountability systems.

To learn more about accountability systems and how to ensure all students matter, visit Students Can’t Wait developed with COPAA’s input and expertise.

You can read COPAA’s testimony in both committees of jurisdiction in the U.S. Congress regarding the implementation of ESSA to assure that new flexibility does not result in reduced accountability, support and intervention at the district and school building level for students with disabilities and their peers.

Policy priorities related to ESSA include:  

o   Assessment

o   Charter Schools

  Safe Schools 



Archived ESEA Materials



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