Last week, Governor Robert Bentley announced the establishment of a state implementation committee for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was signed into law last year by President Barack Obama to replace the No Child Left Behind Act.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the new law “shifts the power of education from the federal government and returns power and control to the states.” Under ESSA, states will be able to decide for themselves what it best for their students in regard to the “implementation of academic standards, testing, accountability, school improvement and teacher quality.”
As part of the law, each state is required to develop a comprehensive plan for implementing the new legislation.
“Every state, school and classroom needs the certainty and fairness of a flexible education law,” Governor Bentley said in the statement. “I support the Every Student Succeeds Act because it provides governors a central role in implementation and governance and gives us the flexibility to shape our schools and prepare our students from early childhood into the workforce. This legislation is the greatest devolution of federal powers to the state in 25 years. I challenge Alabama’s implementation committee to create a plan that will continue to move Alabama’s education system forward while keeping in mind the needs of the students being taught.”
The Alabama ESSA Committee will consist of the following members or a designated representative:
- Two vice chairs, appointed by the Superintendent, Alabama State Department of Education
- Two appointments by each Alabama State Board of Education member, excluding the Governor
- The Secretary, Department of Early Childhood Education
- The Education Policy Advisor, Office of the Governor
- Director, Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs
- Three representatives in workforce development programs or related entities, appointed by the Governor
- A representative of the Alabama Public Charter School Commission, appointed by the Governor
- One member from the Alabama Senate, appointed by the Senate President Pro Tem
- One member from the Alabama House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives
- Additional members as needed, appointed by the Governor
The committee will have to submit a plan for the full implementation of ESSA no later than December 1, 2016.