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​What is the Every Student Succeeds Act? What does this mean for my child and for family engagement in school districts and schools? The first stop for every PTA member in the state is understanding how this new law works and the implications for you, PTA, your school and your state. It is imperative to learn about the new changes in ESSA before you can teach other PTA members in your state about the new law. If you would like Arkansas PTA to come to your school or community and answer questions or do a workshop or training please click to submit an invitation form. Don't forget, we bring snacks and goodies everywhere we go.

A History of ESEA

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was first signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Nearly 40 years later, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) into law in 2002 which reauthorized the original ESEA. In December 2015, the U.S. Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a new law to replace NCLB. President Obama subsequently signed ESSA into law on Dec. 10, 2015.

Roadmaps to Navigate ESSA

National PTA, Arkansas PTA, our constituent associations and advocates across the country are seeking to empower all families to be active participants in the state and local implementation of ESSA to ensure equity and opportunity for all students. Click our Roadmap  to learn how you can get involved in ESSA implementation at the state, local and school level.

ESSA Stakeholder Engagement

The U.S. Department of Education released a new guide for states to use while developing their education plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). While ESSA requires meaningful stakeholder engagement, the new guide does not compel states to include a description of how they are engaging stakeholders while developing their plans. National PTA is extremely disappointed that stakeholder engagement is no longer prioritized in the new guide.

To assist state and local PTA members as they work to ensure state leaders include a description of how different stakeholders have been meaningfully engaged in the implementation of the new state education plans, National PTA has put together this stakeholder toolkit, which contains template letters, sample graphics and messaging you can use when talking to state leaders.

The second draft of the ESSA plan is now posted and available for public comment. The only way we can develop the best possible plan for Arkansas’ students is if we get feedback from all stakeholders.
I hope that you can help by sharing with your PTA members all across the state.  The plan can be found on the Arkansas Department of Education  website

Tina Smith, Director of Policy and Special Projects, Arkansas Department of Education, Four Capitol Mall, Room 305-A, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-3667

More About Us

ESSA Resources

Check out these wonderful resources from National PTA about ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) and the implementation of our federal education law.  We still need funding in Fiscal Year 2018 for Statewide Family Engagement Centers which PTA knows is the key to the continued success of our students!

Understanding ESSA

The Every Student Succeeds Act

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