President Barack Obama on Thursday signed the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), an overhaul of the federal No Child Left Behind education law.
George W. Bush's signature 2002 No Child Left Behind law required schools to make "adequate yearly progress" on standardized tests administered by states, which was used as the measure's strict accountability system.
ESSA gives states greater control over education decisions and how to handle underperforming schools.
The new law maintains mandated math and reading testing, but largely removes the high stakes associated with those tests. For example, the bill eliminates the requirement of using test stores for teacher evaluations.
Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery was among those at the education bill's signing Thursday.
"I am very honored to participate in this historic moment and applaud Congress for this significant course correction, acknowledging that a decade's worth of test-and-punish education policies have been a failure," Montgomery said in a statement. "Nothing is perfect, and ESSA is no exception, but there is a lot to like about this bill. Overall, it brings us closer to letting states, local school districts, and educators like me focus on students and their success. It's also an important to step in ending the harmful testing obsession that parents and teachers alike have repeatedly rejected. Now, we must use this national momentum to affect more change in Illinois, where misguided state policies continue to drain the joy from teaching and learning."