Elementary & Secondary Education

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the federal law that seeks to support low-income, minority, and disadvantaged students. Originally passed in 1965 in response to the civil rights movement of the early 1960’s, the law was originally designed to be reauthorized—updated—every five years.

From 2001 to 2015, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) iteration of ESEA determined how public schools served students nationally. NCLB emphasized a high-stakes testing culture and tied teacher performance to student outcomes. When ESEA was reauthorized in December 2015, the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) changed public education by shifting power and autonomy from the federal government to state governments. Under ESSA, states and local districts now have greater flexibility for state and local innovation, providing significant flexibility to our states and local districts. Throughout the reauthorization and implementation process, NIEA has fought for greater tribal participation in educating Native students. ESSA includes several Native specific provisions that support these efforts.


NCLB vs ESSA: Side-by-Side Comparison of Indian Education Titles

NIEA has developed two side-by-side documents, which compare Title VII under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Title VI in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Both documents are organized in tables that outline the implications for Native education.


The shorter version summarizes major changes that impact Native education from NCLB to ESSA. To view the condensedside-by-side summary of Native education titles, please click here.

The longer version is a line-by-line comparison of both NCLB and ESSA. To view the more detailed document accounting differences in the Native education titles of both laws, please click here.


NIEA hosted a webinar outlining key changes to the Indian Education Title in ESSA and how the new law will impact Native students. To view the webinar on the national impact of ESSA, please click here.

If you are interested in viewing NIEA webinars about ESSA implementation at the state and local levels, please click here.



NIEA, in partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education, has created informational fact sheets outlining major changes to ESSA as well as information on the major wins for Native Communities that are included in this bill. These documents are provided free of charge and are copyrighted by NIEA. The fact sheets below are for instructional and educational purposes and may not be altered without the explicit consent of NIEA.