Every Student Succeeds Act

The Every Student Succeeds Act retains some elements of the No Child Left Behind, but diminishes the federal controls over public schools. Wade Spees/staff/file 

Parents, teachers and others are invited to attend a May 22 forum about how best to hold public schools accountable for educating students.

Specifically, the May 22 meeting will discuss the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. While the ESSA passed in 2015, states are only now beginning to make changes because of it.

"This forum is directed toward educators, parents and the community at large — anyone who has a stake in the success of our public schools," said Vera Loyd, director of the South Carolina Education Association's Coastal and Pee Dee Region.

The association is cosponsoring the event with the Quality Education Project, a Charleston-based nonprofit working to improve traditional public schools.

Kendall Deas, co-director of the project and a College of Charleston adjunct assistant professor of education policy, said the Every Student Succeeds Act gives states and local districts more responsibility and authority, while another big component is aimed at getting parents more involved in their children's education.

"We have a public school education crisis in this country, and we've got to turn that around," he said. "We've got to educate parents about the importance of being directly involved in the education of their children."

"We also hope to send a message to not only the community at large but also state and national policymakers in attendance concerning what is needed to support traditional public education," he added.

At least two state representatives, as well as representatives from the Charleston County School District, the South Carolina Department of Education, and National Education Association, are expected to attend, Loyd said. 

The National Education Association lobbied for replacing No Child Left Behind, particularly its rigorous testing mandates, Loyd said. "We hope people won't be testing children to death," she said. "We feel there's more than one way to evaluate the success of our children."

While Tuesday's event at the International Longshoreman's Hall is free, those interested are asked to register by Friday at sceaevents.eventbrite.com. A reception begins at 6 p.m., with the town hall running from 6:30-8 p.m. Those with questions may call Loyd at vloyd@thescea.org or 843-236-3307.

Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771. Follow him on Twitter @RobertFBehre.