The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives state boards of education an opportunity to reevaluate, improve, and align policies that ensure high levels of learning for all students. This issue of The State Education Standard explores the ways state boards of education can align education policies to student learning standards to drive a comprehensive system of improvement for all schools.

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Editor’s Note

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Standards-Based Reform: Everything Old Is New Again
Under ESSA, states return to their historical role in balancing regulation and innovation, with learning standards as the pivot.
By Robert Hull and Don Long

Increasing the Odds That Policy Reforms Will Improve Performance
Five attributes of successful policies for education reform and accountability.
By Morgan Polikoff

The Science of Standards-Based Education
As Michigan and North Carolina show, states can determine the degree to which instruction is aligning with their academic standards.
By John Smithson

Tennessee Scales Up Improved Math Instruction through Coaching
Tennessee invests in a statewide, standards-aligned model for coach-led mathematics training.
By Jennifer Russell, Mary Kay Stein, Richard Correnti, Victoria Bill, Laura Booker, and Nate Schwartz

Virginia Rethinks High School in Its Profile of a Graduate
Virginia state board draws Profile of a Graduate to ensure that content standards align with life-ready skills and expectations for students.
By Diane Atkinson

Urban District Anchors Culture Shift in Standards-Based Leadership Strategy
Maryland’s Prince George’s County grows its own leaders in system that ties expectations to student achievement goals.
By Douglas W. Anthony and Pamela R. Shetley

Using ESSA to Put Teaching and Learning First
State boards can set the stage for learning systems that improve teaching.
By Stephanie Hirsh