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Home > About > News and Events > News > Field News > President Obama Signs ESSA Into Law

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President Obama Signs ESSA Into Law

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Dec 10, 2015

On Thursday, December 10, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act as the new federal K-12 education law. The ESSA is a combination of a house bill, the Student Success Act, and a Senate Bill, the Every Child Achieves Act. President Obama called the bipartisan passing of the education bill a "Christmas miracle."

Overall, the bill includes strong federal support for arts education. Americans for the Arts outlined nine areas wherein the bill makes a commitment to the importance of the arts within the U.S. education system:

  • Support for well-rounded education—The bill retains the arts as a “core academic subject,” meaning that federal education funding will continue to target arts programs
  • Funding for arts education—The bill includes “key, dedicated, and distinct authorization to promote arts education under a new program, Assistance for Arts Education”
  • Reporting—The bill outlines specific requirements for educational agencies in terms of how they will report progress and meet the academic needs of all students
  • STEAM—Rep. Suzanne Bonamici introduced an amendment to the bill that integrates academic subjects, including the arts, into STEM courses
  • Continued authorization of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • Accountability for lower-performing schools—According to the bill, states “continue to be required to improve student learning within the lowest performing five percent of their schools”
  • Testing & Standards—The adequate yearly progress requirements under NCLB have been replaced with more comprehensive measures of student readiness
  • Teachers—More funding is allocated for professional development for arts educators

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This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.