House Passes the Every Student Succeeds Act

By: Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach, NASP Director, Government Relations

The House of Representatives ended 8 years of failed efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/NCLB.  The House passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which represents a complete overhaul of federal education policy.  The Senate is expected to vote next week, and the President is expected to sign before the end of the year.  This legislation moves us away from a narrow focus on standardized tests and toward a more comprehensive approach to student success and school accountability. 

This legislation is supported by virtually every education group, including NASP.  We recgonize, however, that this bill is not perfect, and we still have a lot of work to do to ensure that our schools are meeting the needs of all of our students.  Your advocacy was instrumental in passing this legislation.  Your voice will be critical to implementation efforts at the state and local level.

EdWeek published a summary of the legislation if you are interested in some of the nitty gritty details.  The major highlights, particulary as they relate to school psychology and comprehensive school psychological services are oulined here.  


  • States have to adopt high standards for all students in reading, math, science, and any other subject they choose. However, this legislation contains explicit language that prohibits the Secretary of Education from mandating that states adopt and implement the Common Core State Standards.  
  • States must annually assess students progress toward state academic standards. States and districts are not required to use the results of the annual assessment in teacher performance evaluations, but they can if they choose to do so. 
  • Accountability systems must include academic indicators (including student growth if they choose) as well as at least one indicator of school quality such as school climate, school safety, or student and family engagement. 
  • States and districts must provide technical assistance to help consistently low performing schools develop a comprehensive improvement plan, assess and address resource equity, and offer comprehensive learning supports.

Comprehensive School Psychological Services to Promote Safe and Supportive School Environments

  • School psychologists are explicity listed as a 'school-based mental health services provider' and as a group of professionals referred to as 'specialized instructional support personnel.'
    • These professionals must be constulted in the development, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive school improvement plans
  • States must indicate how they will help districts address discipline, bullying, and harassment and improve school climate.
  • States must improve the educational stability for children in foster care and those that experience homelessness.
  • ESSA authorizes several funding streams to:
    • implement multi-tiered systems of support (e.g. pbis) to address student learning, behavior, and mental health
    • expand access to school mental and behavioral health services
    • improve school safety and crisis response
    • >create trauma informed environments
    • improve family/school/community collaboration
    • provide professional development on evidence based early identification and intervention methods
    • improve early literacy services

In the coming months, NASP, in collaboration with our national partners, will be sharing  more details about specific policies and practices that could be impacted by this legislation and specific actions that you can take to help states and districts implement systems of comprehensive school psycholgoical services and advance the role of the school psychologist.