innovation school

6 paths to innovation under ESSA

A new brief outlines how states and ed leaders can focus on change that supports innovation at all levels.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a marked departure from its much-maligned predecessor, No Child Left Behind, and it puts much more power in states’ hands. Now, a new guide is helping ensure states harness that power to prioritize innovation.

Part of the challenge in sustaining innovation lies in the need for states to go beyond stacking new metrics on existing policies, according to The State Innovator’s Toolkit: A guide to successfully managing innovation under ESSA. Instead, they will have to think differently about what innovation means in their schools and how they can reimagine processes to support such progress.

But because some of NCLB’s structures remain intact under ESSA, states could attempt to innovate but remain stuck in the same cycle. The brief outlines a series of frameworks to help states think about how their systems can successfully manage innovation under ESSA.

Innovation brings risks, and while some education leaders embrace those risks and celebrate the lessons found in failure, other leaders are more hesitant and wish to avoid failure, thus leaving their schools in the same cycles.

(Next page: 4 principles and 6 approaches to innovation)

Laura Ascione

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