The state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan is a path to a brighter future for public education in Illinois. ESSA pushes us to strive for a system that offers a quality education to every child and closes achievement gaps for those who have been traditionally underserved. The goals the state establishes, like a good personal trainer, should push schools to achieve more than they thought they could otherwise but not so much that they simply fail. Statewide goals that expect more than even our most effective schools are able to achieve will not lead us to that brighter future but to frustration. Instead, we will continue to look for ESSA goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable, and Timebound) as we imagine a new system for evaluating and improving schools.


Mary Havis, Superintendent, Berwyn South SD 100, member of Real Learning for Real Life

“In District 100, the message of ESSA and growth is a welcome one. We believe in accountability and push that every day. We believe ESSA can change the mindset of pointing out failures to show that we can improve schools.”


About Real Learning for Real Life

Real Learning for Real Life is a coalition of school districts and advocacy, community and business organizations committed to closing achievement gaps and preparing the whole student for college, career and life after high school. Real Learning for Real Life’s focus is on ensuring equity and excellence in the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in Illinois. For more information,  follow us on Facebook or Twitter.