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Teacher Empowerment

The Every Student Succeeds Act ensures that teachers’ voices are part of decision- making at the federal, state, and local levels—a major improvement over No Child Left Behind’s one-size-fits-all approach to educating students.

Key Provisions

  • Moves decision-making to the people who know the names of the students they educate while maintaining supports that ensure zip codes do not determine the quality of education
  • Incentivizes supports and interventions that are tailored to local needs while preserving the historic federal role in protecting the most vulnerable: children in poverty, students with disabilities, and English-language learners
  • Calls for committees of practitioners where teachers and paraeducators (with recent classroom experience), parents, and community members can work together to improve their local schools
  • Offers grants that could be used to support initiatives to increase diversity in the teaching workforce
  • Makes resources available to states that could be used to develop or strengthen teacher induction and mentoring programs
  • Provides a definition of professional development embedded in research based on standards developed by teachers—for example, Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning
  • Allows district funds to be used to enhance collaboration and teacher-led professional development aligned with students’ learning needs
  • Prohibits the federal government from mandating teacher evaluations or defining teacher effectiveness
  • Expands the reach of collective bargaining to cover:
    • Targeted school supports and improvements in Title I
    • Professional development, pay based on professional growth, the Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program (formerly called TIF), and all other provisions of contracts impacted by Title II
    • Community schools in Title IV
  • Requires consultation with organizations representing educators in multiple places, ensuring that teachers and their local unions have a say in decision-making

Download this document: ESSA: Teacher Empowerment ( MS-WORD, 144 KB, 1 page)

SPRING INTO ESSA: Season of Action 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents an opportunity to ensure success for each and every student. This opportunity will only be realized if educators lead implementation, make our voices heard and work with our communities to advocate on behalf of students. Join us!

Sample School Board Resolution: Click here

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ESSA: 5 Steps to Creating Your Local’s ESSA Team


With Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act, Life After NCLB Begins

On December 10, President Obama, with a stroke of a pen, made it official: the No Child Left Behind era is over. 

Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), one day after it was passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate, which followed broad passage in the House.


Network Letter to Secretary King on ESSA Implementation

Testimony of Beck Pringle on ESSA Implementation

Educators Spoke Congress Listened

Why educators support ESSA

ESSA Comments to the Department of Education

NEA welcomes historic step to usher in new era in public education

NEA president supports the Every Student Succeeds Act

NEA president marks 40th anniversary of landmark IDEA legislation

NEA president encouraged by bipartisan and bicameral approach to fix broken law