ESSA Resources


At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we believe that all lives have equal value. In the U.S., we know that education is the bridge to opportunity, but for too many students, the path to that bridge is too narrow, the barrier to entry too high, and the way forward once students get there is too uncertain. And while the nation’s high school graduation rate is at an all-time high, only four out of 10 students are leaving school with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to be prepared for the next step – including 12% of black students, 25% of Hispanic students, and 20% of low-income students.

ESSA_resources_downloadhere_image2For this reason, our K-12 work is designed to help many more students receive a high-quality education and graduate from high school equipped with the skills they need to succeed in college and the workforce.  We support high standards and expectations for students, matched with aligned tools and support for teachers, delivered in a personalized learning environment that meets student needs, strengths and interests.

We believe the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) creates an unprecedented opportunity for policy makers and education leaders to take what has been learned in the field over the past 10 years about the power of high standards for learning, high quality instruction, and personalized learning approaches,  and put that knowledge into practice more widely in ways that drive equitable access to high quality public education.

To support state policy makers and education leaders, we’ve gathered a sample list of ESSA related resources – overviews, infographics, transition timelines and reports – to aid in the transition to implement changes related to the passage of ESSA.


  • Alliance for Excellent Education: AEE provides a comprehensive set of materials, including fact sheets on various aspects of the law, side-by-side charts comparing key components of NCLB and ESSA, and short video clips breaking down tough-to-understand federal language and provisions.
  • Center for American Progress: CAP conducted a 50-state analysis of school accountability systems, Making the Grade. The report examines the accountability landscape in each state, analyzes the types of indicators states use, and provides recommendations on the adjustments states will need to make under ESSA.
  • The Council of Chief State School Officers: CCSSO’s website houses a set of tools and resources for ESSA implementation support and provides deep content on accountability systems, English language learners, school supports and interventions, and stakeholder engagement.
  • Education Next: Education Next asked top education policy experts what advice they would offer to states as they implement ESSA. Responses cover a range of issues, including data use, intervention supports, accountability system design, and school choice. Part 1 and Part 2.
  • The Education Trust: Ed Trust website resources are focused on equity and are divided into separate levers that can be used to advance education equity: Standards, assessments, accountability systems, public reporting, teachers and leaders, and funding.
  • U.S. Department of Education: US DOE’s website includes a side-by-side comparison of NCLB, Obama administration policies, and ESSA, FAQs on the law, and notices of proposed rulemaking.

Download a PDF of the one-pager here.