Decades of research on intergovernmental relations in education and other policy areas offer some clues as to what is likely to happen and (just as important) not happen as a result of more decentralized policymaking under ESSA. First, although ESSA’s legislative framework suggests the potential for considerable change, major alterations to existing state policies should not be assumed.
Second, the research suggests that states will not respond monolithically to ESSA’s changed framework. Over time, some can be expected to make major policy changes, some more modest ones, and others few, if any.
It’s particularly important to pay attention to how ESSA will affect equitable service provision and improved academic performance for poor and minority students least well served by our current system.
Here, as mentioned earlier, two opposing schools of thought generally prevail among education scholars and policymakers, each with some backing from theory and empirical evidence.
The first considers strong federal protections to still be essential for ensuring equitable treatment for the disadvantaged and is skeptical that many states can secure adequate services for their most vulnerable populations without them.
The second believes that states generally have both the political will and the technical capabilities to craft policies favoring the needs of the disadvantaged and that a less prescriptive federal role will only enhance their ability to do so.
Read the full article on poor and minority students under ESSA by Martin Orland at The 74
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