Every Student Succeeds Act

Toolkit for Magnet Schools

This toolkit was created to help magnet schools and their partners across the United States to engage with state and local decision makers around the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). States are required to engage with stakeholders as they write their new state plans. While Magnet Schools of America (MSA) prioritizes certain sections of the law (and therefore provides relevant resources), MSA encourages schools to be involved as much as possible in the work happening in their states around the new law. This is a historic moment for K-12 education, with more control being given to the local education agencies. The more magnet schools engage, the more our voice will be heard and hopefully our priorities addressed.  

What is ESSA?

The Every Student Succeeds Act reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind, and is the federal law for K-12 public education. ESSA was signed into law in 2015 and will take full effect in the 2017-2018 school year. The law was designed to increase opportunities for local input and flexible decision making based on what communities and states need to provide a quality education to their students. The new law can also be viewed as a civil rights law – it seeks to ensure every child, regardless of race, family income, background or zipcode, has the opportunity to succeed. Therefore, this is an opportunity to prioritize racial and socioeconomic integration. Importantly ESSA includes the requirement that state and local education agencies engage in “timely and meaningful consultation” with a variety of stakeholders while developing Title I and accountability plans. Different sections of the law are already being implemented and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of State Support has launched a State Support Network, to help states and districts to develop strategies to support school improvement and improve student outcomes.

How can magnet schools get involved
in implementation of ESSA?

While ESSA is a comprehensive education law, touching on a broad range of issues, magnet schools can play a crucial role in ensuring the law helps promote diversity and innovation in our nation’s classrooms. ESSA is currently being analyzed by state education leaders and agencies who are responsible for creating state plans that explain how they will implement ESSA. These plans will be released to the public for feedback before being submitted to the U.S. Department of Education next year. Therefore, we encourage you to use this toolkit and template letter to drive your discussions and communications with your state and local leaders. Here is how you can get involved on each of the policy areas in ESSA that are specifically related to magnet schools: 

1) Promoting School Diversity

2) Leveraging Theme-Based Education to Foster School Improvement

3) Providing a Well Rounded Education for Students 

Template Letter to Submit to State and Local Education Leaders