Education Department Releases Proposals for Consideration by ESSA Negotiated Rulemaking Committee

Archived Information

Education Department Releases Proposals for Consideration by ESSA Negotiated Rulemaking Committee

April 1, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education sent proposals today to the committee working on proposed regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The proposals focus on the issues being negotiated: Title I, Part A assessments, and the requirement that federal Title I-A funds supplement, not supplant, state and local resources.

The proposals are in response to input from negotiators given during the committee's first three-day session in March. The committee meets again this week from April 6-8.

"These proposals are part of the important work this committee is doing to ensure the law is implemented smoothly and with a focus on the most vulnerable students, consistent with the law's purpose," said Ann Whalen, senior advisor to the Secretary, delegated the duties of the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. "We look forward to continuing to work with the committee to promote equity and excellence for all students by providing states and school districts with timely regulations so that they can plan ahead to support students and educators."


The Department sent the committee proposals that would support states and districts in fairly measuring the progress of all students by ensuring annual statewide assessments are valid, reliable, fair, and of high technical quality so that schools can provide good information on student performance for parents and educators. In particular, reflecting feedback from the committee, the Department's proposals address the need for inclusive and accessible assessments for students with disabilities and English learners. Specifically, the Department proposes language, consistent with the law, that:

Supplement, not supplant

Federal resources provided under Title I to high-poverty schools are intended to provide additional educational resources and supports that at-risk students need to succeed, instead of being used to make up for shortfalls in state and local funding. But in some places around the country, Title I schools receive fewer state and local dollars than the non-Title I schools within the same district. This prevents high-poverty schools from being able to provide supplemental supports to the children who need them the most.

The Department's proposal—based on feedback from the committee − clarifies how districts can meet the new compliance provision in the law and ensure that Title I schools receive at least as much in state and local funding as the average non-Title I school in that district. This clarification will help districts ensure that Title I funds provide truly supplemental supports for students, while also maintaining districts' authority to choose their own methodology to allocate state and local funds. The proposal also reflects the committee's input with respect to providing additional flexibility to accommodate unique circumstances.


ESSA replaces the outdated No Child Left Behind law, and expands on the good work this Administration, states, districts and schools across the country have already started. The new law will help build on key progress that the country has made in education over recent years—including a record high school graduation rate of 82 percent, significant expansion of high-quality preschool, and a million more African American and Hispanic students enrolled in college than in 2008.

ESSA promotes equitable access to educational opportunities in critical ways, such as asking states to hold all students to high academic standards to prepare them for college and careers and ensuring action in the lowest-performing schools, high schools with low graduation rates, and in schools that are consistently failing subgroups of students. Maintaining effective, time-limited, high-quality assessments and ensuring that all states and districts know how to meet the updated "supplement not supplant" requirement are crucial to achieving these objectives.

The Department hosted numerous public forums, held more than 100 meetings with stakeholders and received hundreds of written comments on how to best support states, districts and schools in the transition to the new law, which informed the negotiated rulemaking process that is now underway. The negotiators represent the constituencies that are significantly affected by the topics proposed for negotiation, including state and local education administrators and board members, tribal leadership, parents and students, teachers, principals, other school leaders, and the civil rights and business communities.