Having grown up in Upstate New York, a white Christmas is all I know. Watching snowflakes fall while opening presents and indulging (fine, overindulging) in an assortment of delicious goodies was typical. Sledding down the biggest hills, inevitably finding snow in unfortunate places no matter how many layers I had on, then returning home to sip hot chocolate by the wood stove was the norm. It was the best! Maybe I’m the 1% that enjoys snow, but I’m OK with that!
Needless to say, with my first Christmas spent in DC I’m not looking forward to the green backdrop that will accompany us for December 25th. Even in NY temperatures are going to reach record breaking highs! This green holiday is going to be…different. Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad per say, but I’ll sip my hot cocoa with a skeptic attitude regardless.
While this green backdrop is new scenery for me, the scenery for education is also changing for teachers. This should not come as a surprise; change is a never ending constant in the education world. Teachers are use to new initiatives, new standards, new evaluation systems, new curriculum measures, etc. Teachers are use to ‘new’ – it comes with the territory. This time around teachers are saying hello to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which is a new law that builds on the previous No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) enacted in 2002.We can all hope for a seamless transition, but each educator will adapt to this change differently. However, if there’s one thing that everyone can agree on is that the time to update NCLB is long past due. Many educators are pleased (even relieved) with this shift. The ESSA attempts to find a tricky balance by providing states with more flexibility while maintaining some critical federal guardrails.
So while I familiarize myself with warmer temperatures, and a lack of fun filled snow activities, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with this new law. Perhaps this DC Christmas change will be a pleasant surprise and perhaps this new act will leave more optimism in its wake.
Here are a few helpful links that explore why this law was revamped to begin with, what this new education law aims to do, and how it plans to achieve its goals.