The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) Improves Equitable Services Provisions for Catholic School Teachers and Students


While much of the Act pertains to public schools, there have been significant improvements that will benefit students and teachers in Catholic schools.

These include:

  • When calculating the proportionate share of federal funding to serve private school students and teachers the local school district (LEA) must base that share on the total allocation the LEA receives prior to reserving any funds for specific public school uses.
  • The State Education Agency (SEA) that receives the federal funding and disperses it to the LEAs must inform the private school officials of the amount of funding available to serves students and teachers in each of the programs.
  • Requirements for timely and meaningful consultations have been made more specific.
  • A new position of ombudsman has been created in the law. SEAs are to appoint an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the LEA’s compliance with the equitable services provisions pertaining to the participation of private and religious school students and teachers and other educational personnel.

The U.S. Department of Education is beginning the rulemaking process to guide the implementation of the law.  The federal programs section of the NCEA Public Policy webpage has preliminary information about the new law and the provisions impacting Catholic schools.  As further information becomes available the website will be updated.