Maddie Fennell – Summer 2016
“The Every Student Succeeds Act can help us bridge the gap between policymakers and practitioners,” writes Maddie Fennell, secretary for the National Network of State Teachers of the Year and Teacher in Residence at the U.S. Department of Education. She explains key changes from No Child Left Behind, including regulations related to Adequate Yearly Progress and Highly Qualified Teacher Requirements. The law also no longer requires specific educator evaluations. Additionally, she details new aspects of ESSA, including that state report cards must now include disaggregation for homeless students, students in foster care, and students from military families. Notably, states will develop their own accountability measures and interventions for struggling schools. Finally, Fennell outlines new opportunities for teacher-led professional learning, explaining that the law expands the allowable use of Title II funds to content areas beyond ELA and math. There is also a call for states to support districts in empowering their best teachers to lead professional learning for their peers.