I feel fortunate to work in a state that has a very compelling vision for education. In Kansas, our commissioner has articulated exactly what we are to do every day in our classrooms, our schools, and our districts: Produce students who can be successful.
Following No Child Left Behind, this vision feels very different and much broader. A few years ago, we were tasked with simply producing students who could pass reading and math assessments at the state level. That was it. That was all that “mattered” for accreditation and evaluating our effectiveness. As educators, we know that these test scores did not correlate with success—but it wasn't up to us.
All of that changed with the ESSA act a few years ago. More local control was given back to the states, and accreditation didn’t come solely from an individual test on a given day. Teachers began to focus again on all the factors that impact a student being successful instead of just math and reading.