Will Decentralization Affect Educational Inequity? The Every Student Succeeds Act

Anna J. Egalite, Lance D. Fusarelli, Bonnie C. Fusarelli
Educational Administration Quarterly
Resource Type
Acquisition Number
Published Date
12-28-2017 2:53 PM
Published Year
Subscription Only
Purpose: In December 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was a long overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. What is remarkable about this new federal legislation is that it explicitly reverses the decades-long federal effort to more tightly couple the U.S. educational system. While not removing testing requirements, the legislation dramatically reduces the federal role in shaping education policy, returning significant power to the states to design educational systems as they best see fit. The law places sharp limits on the use of federal executive power over education and has the potential to remove the federal government from oversight and accountability over schools, raising questions about the equity implications of this policy change. Research Method: Utilizing public documents, including legislation, speeches by federal officials, analyses by policy organizations, and news accounts, the authors trace the evolution of federal efforts from a more tightly coupled educational system to one with greater state and local flexibility in order to estimate the equity impact of efforts to decentralize governance. Findings: While certain provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act may reduce inequity and improve educational outcomes for all students, rigorous enforcement of the law's protections will be necessary in order to ensure existing inequities are not exacerbated.
Secondary Education
Federal Policy
Elementary Education