Leveraging ESSA: Policy Opportunities for English Learners in Illinois

Leveraging ESSA: Policy Opportunities for English Learners in Illinois

The passage of the ESSA includes important accountability provisions regarding English learners (ELs) that further emphasize that the educational experience of and goals for EL students are not an isolated set of challenges. Rather, the ways in which states, districts and schools are prepared and supported to educate ELs reflect a broader and more integrated approach to equitable outcomes so that all students are able to thrive in school.

One major explicit change is that accountability for EL performance and progress is now shifted to Title I, which increases funding opportunities and visibility for ELs. Beyond this specific shift, however, there are several additional areas within ESSA that will also have deep significance for ELs as part of a broader equity approach to accountability. This document attempts to explore some of the opportunities presented by ESSA to support EL students.