Press | New Leaders’ Statement on Final ESSA Regulations

Washington, DC — New Leaders believes the U.S. Department of Education’s final regulations regarding the accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) represent a balanced approach to supporting states and districts to implement locally-developed, evidence-based accountability systems and school improvement solutions in partnership with educators, families, and other stakeholders. The regulations heed the call for greater flexibility while maintaining several important federal guardrails to protect and advance the interests of the nation’s most vulnerable children.

And we are pleased to see school leadership meaningfully reflected throughout the regulations. In particular, we laud the inclusion of principals and other school leaders in the processes for developing school improvement plans and crafting state plans. Moreover, we appreciate the many ways the regulations highlight priority actions and conditions necessary for school leaders to be most effective—such as elevating the importance of hiring turnaround leaders who are trained for or have a record of success in low-performing schools and providing principals with balanced autonomy to transform underperforming schools.

Overall, the changes adopted by the Department reflect the input of a wide range of stakeholders, all of whom must now continue the challenging, necessary work of implementing ESSA with fidelity and quality at the local level. To that end, we call on states, districts, and other local and national partners to take steps to ensure all schools—especially those identified for improvement—are led by a well-prepared, well-supported principal.

We look forward to working with the new Congress and Administration to implement ESSA in ways that promote local innovation, advance equity, and provide school leaders with the stability they need to effectively support teachers, students, and families in transitioning to the new requirements and, together, to accelerate and sustain improvement in the years ahead.