December of 2015 the newly signed law, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into being. While the particulars of this law are still under negotiation most parties hail it as a step forward from No Child Left Behind. Securing stakeholder feedback, which includes teachers, is one way that this law differs from the last.
I will be the first to tell you that for years I saw the laws at both the federal and state level to be something placed down on me that I had to blindly follow. As a classroom teacher I felt as though I had absolutely no say it. Well-things have changed. The United States Education Department is seeking OUR feedback so that policy can be connected to actual education practice.
While I was at a meeting I had heard that the teacher feedback submitted for ESSA had been low, really low. I know that I had shared resources and information out virtually, via paper fliers in our faculty room and by word of mouth. Curious-I began to ask teachers if they had responded. I received an echoing of similar answers. I am sharing my responses to what I heard.
I don’t know much about ESSA, I just know it is better than NCLB.
It is great that you have a positive perception of the new law but in this case ignorance is not bliss. Inform yourself. While you could read the 1,000+ page document I would encourage you to check out a few, concise, resources. My favorite is this article Maddie Fennell wrote. Here are some resources from ASCD. A quick google search will give you thousands of responses, all with their particular slants.
No one cares what I think. No one will actually look at what I put out there.
First, I have met the person that compiles the comments for the department of education. He is a real human who being who does in fact read, analyze and compiles what comes in. When I met him last June he expressed excitement over the 4,000+ responses for what they had been seeking feedback on.
It can be scary to say what you think. That is OK, it is something new and new things are often scary. The time to take the step out there is now. Your feedback is needed to provide a thorough understanding of how these policies will impact your classroom. Your administration, colleagues, etc… will not know what you said. Only you and the department of education (who will mix your feedback with many others) will know.
I don’t know what to say.
Read through what the law could do and think about:
-how could this impact your teaching environment and the culture in your school, in your district, in your state
-what could be some unintended consequences of how the law could be implemented
-think about the big picture of education across our country, how do you see this legislation influencing it
Public input began on May 31 and will be open for 60 days. The clock is ticking. At the top of this page, where the green button is you can provide YOUR insight. I encourage all teachers to be proactive in motivating others to respond. The time is NOW. We are given the opportunity, let’s utilize it!