The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the newest federal law on K-12 education, replacing No Child Left Behind. ESSA gives states more power – in exchange for federal funds – to set education policy. To comply with ESSA, Wisconsin must implement its state plan, which includes creating a new accountability system and federal report card.

WILL provided legal analysis and input on Wisconsin’s state plan.

Research and Analysis

Leaving Money on the Table: How Wisconsin policymakers can take full advantage of the Every Student Succeeds Act

November 13, 2018 | Libby Sobic

Wisconsin will implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in the 2018-19 school year, a federal education law that replaces No Child Left Behind. But Wisconsin’s state plan, submitted to the U.S. Education Department and approved in 2018, was largely devoid of major reforms and opted against using new powers and federal dollars for K-12 education. Associate Counsel Libby Sobic outlines exactly how Wisconsin’s state plan can be improved, and how the state legislature can act to improve Wisconsin’s state plan or even submit a new one.

Press Release | Report

FAQ on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

May 30, 2017 | Libby Sobic and CJ Szafir

1.) An explanation of the Every Student Succeeds Act,
2.) How ESSA will impact Wisconsin K-12 education policy,
3.) DPI and Superintendent Evers are making decisions on ESSA without legislative approval, potentially raising state law violations, and
4.) DPI’s current draft of the state plan is largely an extension of the status quo and fails to take advantage of opportunities for reform that other states are embracing.

Press Release ReportVideo

10 Things Everyone Must Know About the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

January 5, 2017 | Libby Sobic and CJ Szafir

The memo addresses: how ESSA differs from No Child Left Behind, how Wisconsin’s existing report card does – and does not – comply with ESSA, the ways Wisconsin must choose to intervene in failing schools, the appointment of the ombudsman position to enforce the requirement that public schools provide Title services to private school students, the ending of the federal requirements of Common Core and the educator evaluation systems, and why ESSA could change under the Trump Administration.

Press Release | Report

Media and Commentary

The Hill | DeVos should be applauded, not demonized, for her work in education

November 26, 2019 | Libby Sobic

Center Square | First win for group suing Wisconsin education agency over Every Student Succeeds Act

March 11, 2019 | Bethany Blankley


Feburay 8, 2019 


April 20, 2018 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel| DeVos approves Wisconsin ESSA plan that Gov. Walker rejected

January 17, 2018 | Annysa Johnson

Wall Street Journal | Wisconsin Educrats Have a Proposal—but It’s Dull and Conventional

August 18, 2017 | Libby Sobic and CJ Szafir

AP| Wisconsin prepares education plan under lawsuit threat

April 21, 2017 | Scott Bauer

Wisconsin State Journal | Legislature Should Have More Say on Schools

January 21, 2017 | CJ Szafir and Libby Sobic

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