Five Years After ESSA Was Signed, COVID-19 Applies Pressure Test to the Law

Five Years After ESSA Was Signed, COVID-19 Applies Pressure Test to the Law

November 16, 2020

Five years after it was signed into law, the Every Student Succeeds Act is being challenged by the unanticipated disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Andrew Ujifusa for Education Week. At greatest risk, he says, are the assessment and accountability systems required of individual states; systems that now face a lack of data from canceled 2019-20 summative assessments and an uncertain future amid a transition in the White House. On the other hand, Ujifusa points to what may be a reason for some pride by the law’s congressional authors – so far in the pandemic, ESSA has proved flexible and decentralized enough to encourage locally driven solutions to challenges, particularly in terms of curriculum and instruction. Because of the pandemic, many states and districts will likely now consistently consider additional education factors that were not originally central to ESSA, like home internet access and whether parents are able to work from home.