Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

One Vision for Texas Education: TEA’s Path to Implementing ESSA

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) became law on December 10, 2015, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. The new law increases flexibility and decision-making authority afforded states, encourages states and schools to be innovative, and holds states accountable for results. States will submit Consolidated State Plans articulating how they will use federal funds to advance their own goals and visions of success for their students. The primary focus of this legislation over the past 50 years has been to support our most at-risk students and ensure they receive an adequate level of education.

ESSA in Texas

ESSA provides a unique opportunity for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to chart a path for shifting key decisions related to accountability, school improvement, teacher quality, and funding back to the state and local level. Commissioner Mike Morath is embracing this opportunity to maximize the new policy flexibility ESSA offers. Under Commissioner Morath’s leadership, TEA is advancing a key goal to establish one vision for the future of the agency, aligning key decision points in developing systems to support ESSA implementation with a new TEA Strategic Plan that will guide all TEA work. Tapping into the new opportunities that ESSA provides will allow for a singular focus on key state priority areas leading to greater levels of student achievement throughout our state. 

TEA has embarked on a comprehensive process gathering stakeholder input throughout Texas to inform these changes. Since taking office in January 2016, Commissioner Morath and TEA staff have engaged in over 200 stakeholder meetings across the state including meeting with almost every superintendent in the state as part of more than 40 visits to regional service centers. These meetings have focused on gathering feedback on the broad aspects of our overall strategic plan and specific feedback on the development of key policy decisions related to ESSA implementation. A common theme from these interactions was the need to build an ESSA state plan that maximizes the ability for local innovation.  Additionally, we have engaged with outreach to a wider range of stakeholders including regular meetings with teachers, school board members, and parents.

The goal of this effort was to harness the significant opportunity seen by Commissioner Morath to move beyond baseline implementation of statute and work to provide more meaningful guidance, services, and opportunities for innovation to the more than 1,200 districts and charter schools, in alignment with the 20 Education Service Centers (ESCs) around the state. The ultimate impact of this coordinated effort focused on TEA's four strategic priorities and three enablers that will lead to better educational outcomes for all students in the state. 

Implementation Timeline

December 2015—Law Passed

On-going—Gather stakeholder input

Summer 2017—Release draft plan for public comment

September 2017—Submit final state plan to USDE for approval

Final approval from USDE within 120 days

Statewide Survey Results

2016 ESSA Survey Responses (654 KB)