With the enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states will now have greater control and increased opportunities when developing plans that are customized and targeted to address the needs of their students. As ESSA includes expanded guidelines and objectives that are new from what many states are familiar with as part of previous education laws, many state education leaders have questions about not only the criteria that their state must meet, but also about the opportunities their state will now have with this new law.

A new report from Education Commission of the States, ESSA’s Well-Rounded Education, reviews the definition of a “well-rounded education” and how states can support the success of their students through a comprehensive curriculum. This report also explores changes to previous education laws and highlights the new opportunities that are available to states through ESSA.

“Since the passage of ESSA, state leaders have been reaching out to Education Commission of the States with questions regarding the components of ESSA, the implementation process and the expectations of states now that they have increased flexibility to develop plans to best support their students,” said Jeremy Anderson, president of Education Commission of the States. “As an organization, Education Commission of the States is committed to providing states with up-to-date information that addresses these questions and that creates pathways for further discussion during the ESSA implementation process.”

Some key takeaways from this report:

  • ESSA emphasizes the need for all students to have access to a well-rounded education that includes the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, English and mathematics.
  • ESSA opens up many opportunities for states and districts to invest in activities that support a well-rounded education, including the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants.
  • With ESSA, districts are asked to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment to identify the needs of their unique populations and make investments to address those needs.

For questions, contact Education Commission of the States Communications Director Amy Skinner at askinner@ecs.org or (303) 299.3609.

Tweet this ECS report!

  • New #ESSA report from @edcommission reviews how states can support student success with a comprehensive curriculum http://bit.ly/28NRYnE
  • #ESSA emphasizes the need for all students to have access to a well-rounded education. More from @edcommission http://bit.ly/28NRYnE
  • Special report from @edcommission highlights the new opportunities available to states through #ESSA http://bit.ly/28NRYnE #edpolicy

Related ECS resources that you’ll find useful:

Compilation of ESSA-Related Resources: While not an exhaustive list, these resources will help states as they work to understand and implement the changes associated with the passage of ESSA.

ESSA Video Series with State Chiefs: Hear what five state chiefs of education and Education Commission of the States President Jeremy Anderson say about the opportunities and challenges for states during the implementation of ESSA in the new interview series Opportunities and Challenges in a New Policy Environment: A Conversation with State Chiefs.

Watch for a new report, Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement, releasing next Tuesday, June 28.


 PUBLISHED: June 23, 2016

 AUTHOR(S): ,

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 STATE(S): Nationwide

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