The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Originally enacted in 1965 by President Johnson, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), previously referred to as "No Child Left Behind," and now called the "Every Student Succeeds Act," is the law governing the main federal education programs for our nation’s K-12 students. NASISP was integrally involved in the reauthorization negotiations and is involved in the ongoing implementation of ESEA programs by informing members of those aspects of the law that allow for improved delivery of school and community services to students. NASISP regularly provides comments and recommendations to Congress and the Administration regarding the reauthorization of ESEA, most recently enacted as The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

One of our key recommendations was to “Clarify conflicting terminology, definitions, and roles of pupil/related services personnel to adopt one single term — "specialized instructional support personnel"— that will be used in all education laws that reference these personnel.  NASISP is pleased that ESSA defines and references Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) throughout the statute, reaffirming the important interventions and services that SISP provide our students, many of whom come to school with the most severe academic, health, and social-emotional barriers to learning.

Importantly, the ESSA explicitly requires consultation with SISP in the development of Title I State and local education agency plans, as well as Title IV plans and needs assessments. SISP are further included in the development of school-wide programs, targeted assistance, and integrated student supports within the school and coordinated with the community.

These specific citations in the ESSA statute highlight where and how SISP are and could be involved in certain education programs, including professional development and training opportunities.

SISP are still referred to as "related services personnel" in the IDEA, despite the fact that they are exactly the same professionals. This difference in terminology continues to cause confusion for school districts. Establishing one common statutory term would ease this confusion and would more accurately reflect the nature and purpose of the services that these professionals provide to students in schools.


NASISP developed a PowerPoint PRESENTATION to provide member organizations with an overview of SISP provisions in ESSA, as well as program and funding opportunities to provide coordinated SISP services in schools.

NASISP has developed a STATE ADVOCACY CHECKLIST to help you encourage your state associations and professional colleagues to get involved with ESSA implementation in your state and local school districts.