U.S. Department of Education Releases Parent Guide to Understanding ESSA


The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced the release of the document, "Understanding the Every Student Succeeds: A Parent Guide to the Nation's Landmark Education Law" on October 4, 2018. The announcement describes this guide as "a parent and guardian-friendly guide to the important flexibilities in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)." When TransACT drafted its ESSA notices, they were written using the guidelines of the Plain Writing Act of 2010. According to the USED announcement, this parent guide was also written following those guidelines.

The Parent Guide is broken into eight sections. Seven of the sections provide information about key flexibilities that could be exercised under ESSA. The eighth section provides links to additional resources and other information. The seven areas of ESSA flexibilities discussed are:

  • Tests (Assessments);
  • Accountability;
  • School Support and Improvement;
  • Student-Focused Activities;
  • Charter Schools;
  • Funding Flexibility; and
  • Supporting Local Reform.

According to the press release, this document is designed to provide parents the information they need to advocate to their district and state for the ESSA flexibilities they desire. Also included is a link to the USED webpage with additional resources on ESSA Flexibilities (second set of resource links), including a summary of ESSA flexibilities document titled, "ESSA Flexibilities" and a set of slides so that educators can build their own presentation to parents about ESSA flexibilities.

If you are a TransACT ESSA Parent Notices subscriber, you can also find these documents in the ESSA Resources section, in the Parent and Family Engagement folder.

Dr. David Holbrook

About The Author

Dr. David Holbrook is a nationally recognized leader in federal programs administration and monitoring with expertise in Title I, Title III, Native American Education, and Federal Programs. Dr. Holbrook has also worked as a consultant with Title III of the US Department of Education and now serves as Executive Director, Federal Compliance and State Relationships with TransAct.