The ESSA Project

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law on December 10, 2015, replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. This new law lays out requirements set forth by the federal government for state education systems. The purpose of The ESSA Project is to provide school leaders, teachers, and community members with concise information that will inform them of changes in education policy as ESSA begins to take effect. This project was created in response to a request of a member of MERC’s Policy and Planning Council for more information about the impact of this new law on schools in Virginia.


The Every Student Succeeds Act: A Research Brief.
This first research brief provides an overview of the law, the steps the state of Virginia is taking in response to the law, and implications for the state’s schools.

Future briefs may include information regarding Virginia’s specific plan under ESSA and how this impacts local school divisions.


ESSA legislation is scheduled to progress according to the following timeline.

2016 March 2016 – ESSA opened for public input
May 2016 – Proposed rules released
July 2016 (through August, 2017) – Stakeholder feedback
November 2016 – Final federal regulations released
2017 June – July 2017 – Public review of state plan
September 2017– Submission of state plan to USDOE
2018 Fall 2018 – Implementation of state plan,
all ESSA provisions go into effect

Check out additional resources related to ESSA.

Click here to see a comparison between ESSA and NCLB.

Check out answers to frequently asked questions about ESSA.  


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