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School Business Affairs


Controversial since becoming law in 2002 as the re-authorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has been portrayed by critics as federal overreach in education, even as supporters viewed the bill as a necessary reform to improve the academic performance of students in K–12 schools. Regardless, NCLB proved so unwieldy that 43 states and the District of Columbia received waivers from many of its accountability provisions in return for adopting policies favored by the U.S. Department of Education (Layton 2015).

The recent seven-year-overdue re-authorization of the law received widespread bipartisan support in Congress (Korte 2015). The updated NCLB, now the Every Student Succeeds Act (Sec. 1, ESSA),1 came into effect when President Obama signed it into law on December 10, 2015 (Sec. 1).

In light of the impact that ESSA is likely to have on school business officials, their boards, and other education leaders, the remainder of this article provides an overview of its key substantive features and rounds out with a brief conclusion. As important as financial issues are for school business officials, this column does not review the many provisions on funding, because insofar as those amounts are typically treated as goals rather than as guarantees, they are subject to revision.

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This document has been made available for download by permission of the publisher.

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 School Business Affairs magazine and is reprinted with permission of the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). The text herein does not necessarily represent the views or policies of ASBO International, and use of this imprint does not imply any endorsement or recognition by ASBO International and its officers or affiliates. Any additional re-purposing or reprint of this article in this or any other medium is restricted without prior written consent.

Permission documentation is on file.


Association of School Business Officials





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Reston, VA



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