Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and English Language Learners

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.  The U.S. Department of Education offers guidance on transitioning to the new law in this series of FAQs, published in Feburary of 2016.


The new law has significant implications for English Language Learners (ELLs). The following organizations and teams have compiled their responses to the policy:

While there are some strong endorsements of measures regarding ELLs in these documents, such as the requirement to establish statewide exit and entrance procedures for ELLs, there are also concerns about the law’s lack of focus on the value of multilingualism, as well as on individual state’s abilities to monitor ELL progress. New updates will be added to this section as they become available.

Earlier Versions of the Law

To learn more about implications for ELLs under prior versions of the law, ESEA and the No Child Left Behind Act, see our related resource section.