Photo: Brendan DeBrincat/Flickr

Photo: Brendan DeBrincat/Flickr

In December, Congress approved a bill (and President Obama signed it into law) that would send the much-maligned No Child Left Behind to the glue factory once and for all.

With No Child Left Behind, the involvement in education on the federal level was intense. High-stakes testing and uniform, rigorous goals that didn’t take into account how wildly student populations and backgrounds vary made it unpopular with many.

In its place is the Every Student Succeeds Act (formally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act), which scales back federal involvement and emphasis on testing, and allows states to set up their own guidelines, albeit with federal oversight and parameters. The re-tooled ESSA also requires states to track student performance and intervene when necessary. It also prevents current and future Education secretaries from requiring things like Common Core be taught universally, and also limits what the department can specifically regulate.

It also offers more money for pre-school development grants, helping states expand and enhance early childhood education programs.

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