Maine recognizes significance of education act signed yesterday

Augusta – President Barack Obama yesterday signed the Every Student Succeeds Act saying this is a rare bipartisan agreement, which replaces the more rigid top-down statutory and regulatory structure of the old “No Child Left Behind Act.”

Maine Acting Commissioner of Education Bill Beardsley says this act gives states more responsibility now. “This is the first significant shift of public education authority from Washington D.C. to the states and towns in a generation. It should provide Maine with more flexibility and innovation. It is also an added responsibility for state and local decision makers, which is both a welcome opportunity and a challenge.”

The law is over 1069 pages. It includes:

  • Requiring annual statewide assessment tests for all public school students.
  • Giving states increased flexibility to design school accountability systems, school interventions, and student supports.
  • Giving states flexibility to work with local stakeholders to develop educator evaluation and support systems.
  • Increasing state and local flexibility in the use of federal funds.

Maine education officials are cautiously optimistic over the new “Every Student Succeeds Act” signed by the President because of its magnitude.

“We have not read the entire 1069 pages of the bipartisan law, yet it is clear the feds will no longer dictate specific standards, shifting many of these and related responsibilities to the states and local communities. At the same time, states must continue testing Maine students every year and continue placing extra effort in helping Maine’s most disadvantaged students,” said Beardsley. The bill grants states increased flexibility in developing new testing, teacher evaluations, and in use of federal funds.

“Maine’s existing federal waiver for the old law stays in place until it sunsets on August 1, 2016,” said Department of Education Federal State Liaison, Jaci Holmes. “These seven months will enable us to clarify authorities retained by the federal government and to determine the degree to which delegated authority will remain with the state and/or passed on to local school districts. While this is a great opportunity, we need to take time to be sure our implementation is effective,” she said.

For more information, contact Federal State Legislative Liaison, Jaci Holmes at 624-6669.