The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently held a forum in Austin, Texas for nationwide education leaders to assess the ramifications of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), legislated in December 2015, on individual states.
The ESSA law essentially transfers the bulk of influence in educational decision-making over to states in such areas as accountability, academic standards and improvements. Consequently, states have a chance to raise the bar on their own expectations for student performance — particularly for underserved segments of the population that stand to make the greatest gain — but also run the risk of failing to make improvements under less direct supervision.
With increased autonomy comes the risk of uncharted results, the Florida Chamber Foundation said. The challenge for the Sunshine State entails making sure that the business community continues to hold the education system to the highest standards to avoid potential backsliding.
Kassie Elekes, who serves as the Florida Chamber Foundation’s marketing and engagement director, voiced concern over the risks of increased independence, paraphrasing the question she heard during the Austin meeting by asking whether the law is good news or bad news for Florida schools.
“[W]e need an energetic and informed business community to continue to shape our state’s education system so that every child has opportunities for success both in the classroom and in life,” Elekes said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is a nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquartered in Washington, D.C. committed to supporting America's long-term global competitiveness.