Idaho state superintendent praises new...

Posted at 6:26 PM, Dec 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-14 20:26:35-05

As President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, it came with the promise of reform from the oft-criticized No Child Left Behind mandates.

ESSA creates more flexibility for the states. While students will be tested annually in the third through eighth grades and once in high school, states can determine how that testing is done. That’s something state superintendent Sherri Ybarra is already looking into.

"We are working with at reducing the testing in Idaho and they have promised us they are going to reduce the testing by thirty minutes," she said.

The law also gives states the option to adopt Common Core standards. Ybarra says Idaho will stay on track to keep those new standards.

"We’re not going to slide backwards,” she said. “I'm not turning the clock back twenty years. We've done some great things; we've adopted some higher standards. We have the Idaho Challenge going on, which closes tomorrow, to make sure we have the best standards for Idaho."

The bill passed the Senate and House by a landslide but Congressman Mike Simpson was the only Idaho lawmaker to give it the green light. Representative Raul Labrador’s office says he voted against it because ESSA doesn't go far enough.

A statement from his office reads: "Congressman Labrador voted for the House version of the bill, but couldn't support the changes demanded by the Senate. Unfortunately, the final bill did not go far enough to restore parent, local and state control."

Still for the state's top education administrator, every student succeeds is positive momentum.

"This is the flexibility that is fantastic in education,” said Ybarra. “It's about student personal growth and personalizing education."

Every Student Succeeds will roll out over the next eighteen months. The State Department of Education plans to release webinars parents can watch every other month to keep up to date with the changes.