Alabama Wants a Say in Education Plans

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law in 2015 to replace the No Child Left Behind Act, requires states to submit their education plans to the federal government for approval. However, the federal government recently rejected Alabama’s request to administer different tests to students – and now, Alabama state superintendent Michael Sentence is asking for a waiver.


In a recent article, Jim Stergios, executive director of the Boston-based Pioneer Institute, describes Alabama’s request as a real test case. He adds, “It’s one of the first waiver requests, and the waiver is meant to unwind Common Core in Alabama. Given that it comes from Mike Sentance, who is a proven reformer and who cut his teeth leading some of Massachusetts’ most important education advances, it makes no sense for the administration to reject the flexibility Alabama seeks.”

State school board members want to have a say in what goes into the standards and will open a comment period in July.

ESSA is important to the American Heart Association as a means to ensure students receive quality physical education. The Association specifically asks the Alabama State Board of Education to include the following in state ESSA plans and report cards:

  • Number of elementary school students receiving/schools offering 150 minutes of physical education per week;
  • Number of middle school students receiving/schools offering 225 minutes of physical education per week; and 
  • Percentage of schools requiring physical education for high school graduation.

The American Heart Association will continue to monitor the situation. Stay tuned for future You're the Cure alerts! If you're not a You're the Cure advocate, register for free today at

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