STATEMENT: CAP’s Carmel Martin on the Every Student Succeeds Act

Washington, D.C. — Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement today on the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which is scheduled to be considered by the House and the Senate in coming days. The ESSA would update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known most recently as No Child Left Behind.

The Every Student Succeeds Act strikes a balance between accountability for serving all students and closing achievement gaps with flexibility to allow state and local actors to meet local needs. The ESSA preserves annual assessments and the use of disaggregated data to ensure that at-risk students are not falling behind, but it also allows states and districts to take a more holistic approach to measuring progress by using additional measures of school and student success—beyond test scores.

Importantly, the legislation requires action in the lowest-performing schools and where subgroups of students are struggling. The bill authorizes important investments in early childhood education, teachers, and innovation. The final bill also rejects attempts to redirect funding from the neediest schools to wealthier ones, respecting that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is at heart a civil rights bill designed to support at-risk students.

With flexibility comes responsibility, and it will be critical for states and districts to step up to the plate by ensuring that all students and teachers have the supports and resources they need to graduate from high school ready for college and a career.

Click here to view CAP’s recent work on ESEA reauthorization.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at or 202.478.6331.