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Last week, Congress passed and President Obama signed a reauthorization and update of our nation’s major K-12 education law – the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This update, called the Every Student Succeeds Act, replaces the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act.

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For nearly a year, The Education Trust and partners across the country have worked tirelessly to ensure that the reauthorization would help states like Michigan move forward in closing our long-standing, stubborn gaps in achievement and opportunity.

While the law is far from perfect, it contains critical protections for all of our students and maintains a focus on vulnerable students. For example, states will need to maintain strong, career- and college-ready standards, assess student performance, and report on student outcomes.

At the same time, greater flexibility around the pace and nature of improvement efforts will increase the importance of having state and local leaders who are committed to improvement for all groups of students, and using best practices to accelerate student achievement.

We’re grateful for the tireless work of our coalition partners, and to the bipartisan, bicameral collaboration of Chairman Lamar Alexander, Ranking Member Patty Murray, Chairman John Kline, and Ranking Member Bobby Scott and their staffs for getting us to this point.

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