December 9, 2015 Press Releases

Michele Jolin Praises Senate Leaders on Evidence-Based Policy Provisions in ESSA


Today, after the U.S. Senate passed S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), by a bipartisan vote of 85-12, Results for America CEO and Co-Founder Michele Jolin issued the following statement.

“The emphasis on evidence in the Every Student Succeeds Act is a big win not only for students, but for our nation’s education system. By shifting more than $2 billion annually towards what works, this bill could help improve outcomes for our nation’s young people and is an example of what it looks like when government plays Moneyball.”

“Today’s bipartisan passage of S.1177 reflects a growing understanding that in order to ensure that our nation’s children have the educational and economic opportunities they deserve, we must invest in what works. We applaud the bipartisan effort by the Senate to develop a bill that will strengthen the impact of federal investment in education through better use of data, evidence and evaluation.”

This bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would take the following steps to improve education outcomes through the use of data, evidence, and evaluation:

Education Innovation and Research

  • For the first time, authorize a “Grants for Education Innovation and Research” program to develop, implement, replicate, and scale up evidence-based innovations to improve student outcomes;

Pay for Success

  • For the first time, allow local school districts to invest their federal drop-out prevention funds (Title I, Part D) and student safety and health funds (Title IV, Part A, Sec. 4108) in Pay for Success initiatives;

Directing Formula Funds to Evidence-Based Solutions

  • For the first time, define the term “evidence-based” and require local school districts and individual schools to include “evidence-based interventions” that demonstrate strong, moderate, or promising levels of evidence in their plans for improving low-performing schools;

Directing Competitive Funds to Evidence-Based Solutions

  • Require the U.S. Department of Education to give priority to applicants demonstrating strong, moderate, or promising levels of evidence in seven competitive grant programs;

Building the Evidence Base

  • Allow the U.S. Department of Education to invest up to 0.5 percent of ESEA program funds (except ESEA Title I funds and other programs that already have evaluation set-asides) in program evaluations; and

Programs with Track Records of Success

  • Reauthorize two grant programs that grant awards to entities with track records of success in educator development (SEED) and replicating and expanding high-quality charter schools.

Several of these provisions were included in the joint Results for America-American Enterprise Institute report, Moneyball for Education: Using Data, Evidence, and Evaluation to Improve Federal Education Policy, released earlier this year.

About Results for America
Results for America is improving outcomes for young people, their families and communities by shifting public resources toward practices, policies, and programs that use evidence and data to improve quality and get better results. In a climate of constrained resources and mounting demands, we know that public funds must increasingly be invested in “what works.”

In November 2014, Results for America published Moneyball for Governmentthe national bestselling book that brings together a group of bipartisan leaders and makes the case for government at all levels to inform public policy and funding decisions by using the best possible data, evidence and evaluation about what works. In January, 2016, RFA published the second edition of Moneyball for Government featuring a new bipartisan chapter about the importance of using data and evidence to drive U.S. foreign assistance. Go to for more information about Results for America.


Michele Jolin on Evidence-Based Policy Provisions in ESSA: a “Game Changer” for Federal Education Funding