The Role of the State in the Local Implementation of ESSA Programs

The Role of the State in the Local Implementation of ESSA Programs title page

States are responsible for administering the largest grant programs in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As a result, they have substantial influence over how school districts and other local educational agencies (LEAs) implement ESSA programs and spend ESSA funds. This guide describes the oversight responsibilities state educational agencies (SEAs) have in ESSA programs, how those responsibilities affect ESSA implementation at the local level, and how SEAs can promote more effective uses of funds to benefit students. Ultimately, how an SEA carries out its oversight responsibilities has a strong influence on the services LEAs provide to students.

This guide is divided into two parts.

Part I provides an overview of the SEA’s oversight role in ESSA programs, and discusses the importance of developing a strategic vision for how the SEA will approach oversight. A strategic vision is important so an SEA can assess whether the oversight activities it carries out are consistent with the role it wants to, and can effectively, play in LEA program implementation. At a minimum, SEAs must take steps to ensure LEAs comply with federal requirements. Beyond that, SEAs might consider how various state oversight activities can shape LEA programs and spending.

Part II highlights thirteen oversight responsibilities SEAs have under federal law, describes how SEA oversight activities influence LEA implementation of ESSA programs, and provides examples of possible oversight activities SEAs might carry out in different situations.

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