Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Update for Charter Schools

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a significant revision of federal education law. The public charter school movement had seen little significant change since Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act and the measures of the current law affecting charter schools required updating. Some of the improvements in the new law include dedicated funding for grants to replicate and expand high-performing schools, more flexible use of funds and strengthening charter school authorizer quality. Read an NAPCS analysis of the ESSA legislation here.   

ESSA reduces federal control of primary and secondary education and increases state and local control and decision making. The law now requires that states develop plans that address standards, assessments, school and district accountability and special help for struggling schools.

Impact of the state transition plan required by ESSA:

  • The new federal law does not impact the 2015-2016 school year. Ohio’s existing state plan remains in place until August 1, 2016. States must continue interventions in schools identified as priority and focus schools for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year and during the 2016-2017 school year.
  • The 2016-2017 school year will be a transition period with full implementation of new state plans effective with the 2017-2018 school year.
  • Use of U.S. Department of Education fiscal year 2016 funds: Federal grants to Ohio and its school districts and charter schools will use 2015-2016 allocation formulas for the 2016-2017 school year. 
  • The Ohio Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators remains in effect for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. 
  • State and local ESSA plans go into effect for the 2017-2018 school year.

Both the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) and the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) continue to analyze the law’s impact for charter schools, authorizers and stakeholders. NACSA has issued resources and key questions for authorizers to follow as state plans are devised which can be accessed here.

The NAPCS full ESSA bill analysis relating to charter schools is available here. Issues being tracked by NAPCS include timeline and eligibility for the State Grants program, Title I allocations, Direct Student Services, Charter School Grants, Title I Teacher Credentials, Assessments and Accountability. For NAPCS ESSA resources, click here.

For additional ESSA information from the U.S. Department of Education: www.ed.gov/essa

Direct questions at the state level to: essa@education.ohio.gov