If your company sells into the education market, Every Student Succeeds Act is the most sweeping change to hit the US education scene in history. We are embarking on the most turbulent upheavals in education funding we have ever seen.
Make no mistake, ESSA is now the law of the land. Schools, and the companies that sell to them, are already governed by the new regulations. Highlights of the changes include:
- The dollars that schools have been using to purchase are in large measure still there – but they are in new places, with new caveats behind them.
- The scientific research to prove effectiveness is different.
- States are free to choose their own paths, which will lead to greater variability all the way around.
And that’s just a few of the immediate changes. The time to act is NOW. Priorities include:
- Marketing materials: Look carefully at jargon. If your company references “AYP” or “highly qualified,” they are no longer meaningful terms.
- Opportunity: This year’s spend-down is likely to be huge as schools need to use the monies allotted under the old system
- Sales Training: After this year’s spend-down, your reps will need to be retrained; the relationships they have leveraged for success in the past are in jeopardy.
- Districts are in a learning mode too; they don’t understand how ESSA works and will likely be much more cautious going forward
- Funding: Competitive grants are discontinued by October 2016.
The key is to be smart, focused, and ready-to-go! Make sure the value you bring to schools and districts is still relevant. If not, take steps to make the changes you need to make TODAY. There is no question that education vendor operations will be impacted – it’s up to you to make sure that impact is positive.