Each month, Dr. Zorn reaches out to our business community via the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce newsletter with information about the successes and challenges of our public schools.
The US Congress recently approved the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as a replacement for the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation that has been in place since 2002.
This new legislation will lessen the federal government’s role in our public schools and return school governance to states and locally-elected school boards. While not a perfect law, ESSA assures that decisions regarding the education of our children are made much closer to the communities that are affected—a positive shift in direction.
Meanwhile, ESSA maintains a focus on improving student achievement levels. It continues to require the annual testing of students in the 3rd through 8th grade, and once in high school, but states will now have flexibility over what tests are used and the length of these tests.
Under the new legislation, federal and state decision makers will be responsible for making sure that school districts set and reach appropriate goals for student achievement levels. Schools that fail to meet acceptable levels of performance will continue to be monitored, however the remedies for “failing schools” will be left for individual states to determine.
This is a positive trend, and one that will provide our local public schools greater flexibility in the approaches and interventions we can take to meet the needs of our students. Longview Schools have already begun to work with our local legislators to assure that we take advantage of this new-found flexibility to craft educational solutions that work for Longview and the State of Washington.
Dr. Dan Zorn, Superintendent
Longview Public Schools