Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently provided some clarifications on the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and released an updated template for the consolidated state plans. The hope, Secretary DeVos said, is that the updated template “ensures greater flexibility for state and local education leaders to do what they know is best for children, while also maintaining important protections for economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and English learners.”
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The U.S. Department of Education (the “Department”) yesterday published proposed regulations in the Federal Register concerning the supplement-not-supplant requirement of Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This is the first time that the Title I supplement-not-supplant requirement contains an express legislative directive regarding how a local education agency (LEA) must demonstrate compliance. For this reason, the Department proposed the regulations to provide clarity about how LEAs can demonstrate that the distribution of State and local funds satisfies the statutory test. Based on the Department’s Fact Sheet, the proposed regulation would mean up to $2 billion annually in additional funding for the highest need schools and students.
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HomelessnessThe U.S. Department of Education recently released guidance to school districts regarding new provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (“ESSA” or the “Act”) that address the support of homeless students. The guidance provides a summary of the required protections for homeless children and recommendations for school districts. The Education for Homeless Children and Youth program was originally authorized in 1987 and recently re-authorized as part of ESSA. The new provisions in the Act were prompted in part by growth in the number of homeless children enrolled in U.S. public schools. During the 2013-2014 academic year, there were more than 1.3 million homeless children enrolled. States and school districts must begin implementing these requirements by October 1, 2016.
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