The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of the “War on Poverty” and was designed to create “full educational opportunity” for all. The current reauthorization of ESEA is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 under President George W. Bush. The Act has not been updated or reauthorized since.

While ESEA has been waiting for an overhaul, millions of teens and young adults have struggled in school, dropped out, or failed to transition to meaningful education and career pathways.


Opportunity Nation believes that a reauthorized ESEA should: 

  1. Multiple pathways to success: Ensure that the academic achievement of all students, including all subgroups of students, is a central part of state accountability systems
  2. Pay-for-performance: Support multiple pathways to success by focusing on both students who have dropped out of school and those at risk of leaving the system
  3. Accountability: Incentivize pay-for-performance initiatives that can help target limited public dollars to support cost effective solutions that will drive better outcomes.

Learn more about current ESEA reauthorization legislation:

The Student Success Act

The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015

Learn more about Opportunity Nation’s ESEA proposals: 

Opportunity Nation ESEA Fact Sheet

Stay Informed