Brookings Report Looks at Low-Income Students and Impact of ESSA

Brookings Report Looks at Low-Income Students and Impact of ESSA

June 30, 2016

According to a new Brookings Institution report, the impact of ESSA on low-income students is still unknown. The Dept. of Education has not released official guidelines on how states should track student subgroups, including those from low-income families. Traditionally, states have measured this by the number of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches “but that method is ‘quickly unraveling’ and if left unchanged could have dire consequences for education policymakers and researchers.” Under ESSA, this may no longer be the norm, as the proposed guidelines could allow different metrics such as “those who qualify for welfare, food stamps or Medicaid, or those enrolled in programs for homeless and foster youth.” Matthew Chingos, senior fellow at the Urban Institute and author of the report, says that these changes could “strike at the heart” of programs designed to bring attention to economically disadvantaged students.