The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law in December 2015, governs federal K-12 public education policy.

While the new law gives each state much wider authority and discretion than the previous law, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), some federal requirements remain in place. All states must set challenging academic standards and they must annually assess students’ progress towards statewide standards in math, English language arts, and science.

Under ESSA, each state must create a plan that details how it will implement ESSA, and submit that plan to the U.S. Department of Education for approval.

Last week the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) released its proposed plan, which describes how the state will improve efforts in areas such as accountability, support for educators, and support for struggling schools. The plan also shows how federal funds can help schools achieve academic goals.

School districts can learn more about ESSA and provide feedback directly to the NJDOE on the proposed plan. This feedback will help provide the NJDOE with ideas and suggestions to incorporate in the final New Jersey ESSA state plan. NJDOE has an ESSA-specific webpage.

Public comment is being taken on the proposed state plan until March 20, and the NJDOE expects to submit the plan to the U.S. Department of Education by April 3, 2017 for approval in time to implement it for the next school year. Email the NJDOE with questions or comments.