Today, the United States Senate voted to approve the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), sending this law to the White House. President Obama is expected to sign the act into law tomorrow, initiating one of the most broad changes in U.S. public education since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Besides a broad restructuring of the U.S. federal government’s funding of and oversight of state education systems, the act loosens testing mandates and restores music and other arts education as core subjects – the “A” in STEAM education.
The passage of ESSA by the U.S. House and Senate has been hailed by arts organization and arts educators – and by educators in general. Like most acts of legislation, there are numerous compromises, but in general the response has been highly positive. The Boys & Girl Clubs of America hailed the act as “important legislation [that] will strengthen 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Clubs’ ability to help the youth that need us most.” Numerous teachers took to Facebook to express their support.