Just How Flexible is ESSA?


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has approved the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans of New Mexico, Nevada, and New Jersey saying, “it has been exciting to see how each state has chosen to serve its students through the flexibility afforded to them under ESSA. Nevada, New Jersey and New Mexico’s plans meet the statutory requirements of ESSA and these plans will provide a solid framework for educating students in ways that meet each individual state’s needs.”

It is a bit of an arrogant claim from Secretary DeVos that she knows what a solid education framework looks like, since she has no experience in education.  That aside, keep in mind, Secretary DeVos refused to approve ESSA plans of other states, like Michigan, which also sought to exercise ESSA flexibility, but apparently deviated from key “statutory requirements.”  It certainly makes the case that flexibility under ESSA is all smoke and mirrors. 

Under ESSA, every state must adopt “college- and career-ready” standards. Therefore Secretary DeVos appears to be asserting this law requires Common Core (however re-branded)  stay in place or she won’t approve the state’s plan.

The US Department of Education shared “some of the unique elements from each state’s approved plan” on their website.

The evidence is clear that Common Core and globalization are structurally integrated and reinforced throughout all three states’ ESSA plans. 

Nevada and New Mexico blatantly refer to horrendous Common Core State Standards and Nevada says they are preparing to assess “students’ readiness for success in a global 21st century.”

Nevada:Nevada's plan Common Core

New Mexico:

New Mexico CCSS snip

New Jersey is implementing The New Jersey Student Learning Standards which is Common Core renamed. In January of 2016, the Academic Standards Review Committee released its recommendations for proposed revisions to the standards which only changed 200 of 1,427 math and language arts standards that make up Common Core.

New Jersey:

New Jersey ESSA plan

These ESSA plans are a complete farce.

USPIE Board Member Johnnelle Raines said, “Until we get Congress to repeal and not replace ESSA and end federal overreach in local education, we will continue to have these flawed standards that place children’s futures in the hands of DC bureaucrats instead of parents.”

Join USPIE in the fight against nationalized standards and global-ready graduates. Visit uspie.org and Join the Movement to Stop Fed Ed!

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