During his tenure, President Obama had effectively eliminated the No Child Left Behind Act. However, his time to implement the new Every student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was limited. The original deadline for submission of state plans was set at April 3rd, 2017.

Regardless of political party in the presidential office, states were gearing up to meet that deadline, following all guidelines, laws, policies, and stipulations set up during the Fall of 2016. With the changing of the guard within the White House and the appointment of a new Secretary of Education, the pending plan submission date is undergoing some changes.

New guidelines released

Though most states are well on their way to meeting the April 3rd deadline, Secretary DeVos is putting the brakes on the old process and introducing an updated version of the ESSA submission template. Her purpose is to offer states more flexibility, create a higher level of innovation, produce more accountability, and ensure that all students and all educators are highly focused on teaching and learning success.

The new template is shorter, organized by themes, and has significantly fewer regulations. In addition, Devos has eliminated the requirement on the part of states to seek outreach from students, parents, and other stakeholders. They are encouraged to do so, but it is not a required component.

The impact of the change

With most states a mere few days away from the original deadline, it would seem that they are on the path to finish their submissions using the old template. The Department of Education and Secretary DeVos have outlined several different ways to crosswalk the old with the new method in order to accommodate plans that are currently in progress.

In addition, DeVos has set a new revised deadline to assist with tight time requirements (including a 30-day governor review period) to finish any template and plan.

Regardless of paperwork completed, process followed, or template used, we cannot measure the success of the Every Student Succeeds Act until it is documented, implemented, and comprehensive data are collected. The less time we spend on templates and the more time we spend on actual education, the more results we can expect to see.