Rebecca Fishman Lipsey: Why you need to weigh in on ESSA

Your View is a recurring series of opinion pieces from members of The New Tropic community. To share your ideas, goals, and work about Miami with the community in a Your View piece, please submit it to [email protected].

There are extremely important decisions being made right now about the future of education in Florida. These decisions will impact how we identify and support our lowest performing schools and students, how we support our teachers and school leaders, and how we hold our schools accountable for providing ALL students with excellent educational experiences.

If you care about education, specifically equity in education, now is your time to chime in. The Florida Department of Education is inviting public input on the ESSA draft plan for the next two weeks. The deadline is July 31st. Don’t wait until the policies are enacted to form an opinion. It is clear that locals have opinions about the future of education, but they don’t always have clear opportunities to help shape policies on the front-end. This is that opportunity, and it’s worth a 67-page read.

Every Student Succeeds Act: What it is, Why it matters

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is federal legislation that was passed with bipartisan approval in 2015 and now governs the national K-12 public education system. The law is the latest revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and it replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB) of 2001.  

ESSA theoretically gives a lot of latitude to states to tailor their plans to local needs and values, but plans must have certain key components which ensure that schools in that state meet a national bar of excellence for ALL students. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is responsible for approving each state’s plans. She is holding states accountable for having strong plans and has rejected several for not being ambitious enough.

Fascinating. Here’s why it matters for you.

Our ESSA Plan: What’s in it, how you can share input

Florida’s ESSA plan is 67 pages long. It’s broken up into nine sections, and it includes our plans for how we’re going to:

Curious what other states are up to? You can check out other state plans here.

Fill out this survey by July 31st to share your input. This is an incredible opportunity for your voice to be heard on the front end, so that your leaders can consider your perspective as they finalize the plan.