Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

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1. Unlocking ESSA's Potential to Support Early Learning

Source: New America and the BUILD Initiative - March 2, 2017

In December 2015, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was reauthorized by Congress as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, P.L. 114-95) and states are currently in the process of preparing to submit their ESSA plans for approval. A new paper, Unlocking ESSA's Potential to Support Early Learning (March 2017), provides an introduction to the ESSA and explores major provisions that expand early learning opportunities, bring new attention to children's earliest years, and have implications for the early learning system.

2. ESSA and the Use of Assistive and Instructional technology

Source: Center on Technology and Disability - February 14, 2017

The Center on Technology and Disability has published the following resources showing how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) supports the effective use of assistive and instructional technology to enhance teaching and learning.

3. State Pre-K Funding 2016-17 Fiscal Year: Trends and Opportunities

Source: Education Commission of the States - January 30, 2017

A new 50-state review, State Pre-K Funding 2016-17 Fiscal Year: Trends and Opportunities (January 2017), looks at state investments in pre-K funding by program for the 2016-17 fiscal year (FY). It finds that 2016-17 state pre-K funding increased $480 million or 6.8% over 2015-16. The review highlights a number of state examples and describes early learning opportunities for states under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

4. Supporting Early Education in State ESSA Plans - Updated State Scan

Source: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes - January 27, 2017

Since the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015, states have been making plans for a smooth transition into full implementation, scheduled for 2017. The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) recently reviewed the State Department of Education websites of all states and posted an updated version of their Every Student Succeeds Act and Opportunities to Prioritize Early Learning Policy: State Scan (updated January 2017). This resource was developed to assist the field in identifying opportunities and best practices to support the elevation of early learning in ESSA state plans. It includes:

  • Links to state pages devoted to ESSA information
  • State timelines for the development of state plans
  • Examples of early childhood engagement in state plans
  • Links to state plans that have been posted publicly
  • Links to information about strategies states are using to gather public input and engage stakeholders

For this and other relevant resources, visit the ESSA page on the CEELO website.

5. Final ESSA Regulations on Accountability, State Plans and Data Reporting

Source: U.S. Department of Education - November 28, 2016

The final regulations to implement the accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) were released on November 28, 2016. Highlights of key changes made in response to direct feedback from public comments can be found in the press release from the U.S. Department of Education. These regulations are effective January 30, 2017.

6. Aligning Early Childhood Programs To Serve Children Experiencing Homelessness

Source: National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth - October 2016

A new resource, Aligning Early Childhood Programs To Serve Children Experiencing Homelessness (2016), compares preschool, Head Start, and child care policies for children experiencing homelessness. It can be used to help educators, service providers, and advocates understand changes due to the Every Student Succeeds Act, new Head Start Program Performance Standards, and new child care regulations.

7. Federal Guidance - Supporting Early Learning through the ESSA

Source: U.S. Department of Education - October 20, 2016

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes provisions to: promote coordination in early learning among local communities; align preschool with early elementary school; and build the capacity of teachers, leaders and others serving young children to provide high-quality early learning opportunities. The ESSA also authorizes Preschool Development Grants to ensure that more children have access to high-quality preschool. New Non-Regulatory Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education has been released to:

  • remind state and local decision-makers about the importance of investing in early learning;
  • highlight the opportunities available under the new law to strengthen early education; and
  • provide examples of how states and local communities can support young children's success in school.

This and additional guidance related to the ESSA can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/index.html

8. Two Reports Highlight Early Childhood Opportunities in the ESSA

Source: National Association of State Boards of Education and Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center at WestEd - October 10, 2016

Two new reports highlight opportunities for supporting and improving access to high quality early childhood education in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

9. Federal Guidance: Building Systems of Support for Excellent Teaching and Leading

Source: U.S. Department of Education - September 27, 2016

New Non-Regulatory Guidance provides recommendations to support, recruit and retain high quality teachers through the use of funding from Title II, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), as well as other funding sources. This guidance highlights some key areas Title II, Part A funds can be used to support the workforce through better preparation, mentorship and induction, increased diversity, and bolstering teacher leadership. Strategies for using Title II, Part A funds to support the professional development of early educators can be found on page 24. This and additional guidance related to the ESSA can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/index.html

10. Federal Guidance - English Language Learners

Source: U.S. Department of Education - September 23, 2016

Non-Regulatory Guidance has been released to help States, school districts, and schools provide effective services that improve the English language proficiency and academic achievement of English language learners through Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The ESSA promotes the inclusion of English language learners as young as age 3 in early learning programs as part of Title III (see the relevant statutory provisions on pages 31-34). This and additional guidance related to the ESSA can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/index.html

11. New Guidance on Education for Homeless Children Released

Source: U.S. Department of Education - July 27, 2016

New guidance is available to assist state and local partners in implementing the provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for supporting homeless children and youth, including preschool-aged homeless children. The guidance clarifies requirements of Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which was re-authorized in December 2015 by the ESSA. The McKinney-Vento Act includes, among other things, new or changed requirements focused on preschool-aged homeless children, including clarification that local liaisons must ensure that these children and their families have access to and receive services, if eligible, under preschool programs administered by the local education agency (LEA), including Head Start, Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities), and other LEA-administered preschool programs.

The new guidance is part of a series of guidance documents that is being released related to new provisions in the ESSA.

12. Guidance on the Every Student Succeeds Act - Children in Foster Care / Engaging Stakeholders

Source: U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services - June 23, 2016

The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have released guidance to states, school districts and child welfare agencies on new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for supporting children in foster care. The U.S. Education of Department also has released a letter stressing the importance of meaningful stakeholder engagement as states and local school districts transition to the ESSA.

Additional guidance related to the ESSA is available at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/index.html.

13. Input Requested on ESSA Guidance - Including Ways to Expand Early Learning

Source: U.S. Department of Education - April 26, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education is seeking input on areas of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on which to provide non-regulatory guidance. Non-regulatory guidance is not binding and does not impose any new requirements beyond those in the law and regulations. It is intended to provide clarification and examples of best practices. One specific area the Department would like input on is ways to expand early learning - strategies to recruit, develop, and retain teachers and leaders. You can send suggestions to ESSA.guidance@ed.gov, noting the topic area(s) in the subject line. Please include your name and, if applicable, the organization on behalf of which you are submitting comments. To have the most impact, please submit your comments by May 25, 2016.

14. New, Redesigned Preschool Development Grant Program in Every Student Succeeds Act

Source: U.S. Department of Education - December 10, 2015

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) and will replace the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It takes full effect during the 2017-18 school year. Guidance to states from the U.S. Department of Education on how the transition process will work is available at http://www.ed.gov/essa. The new federal education law authorizes $250 million annually for a new, redesigned Preschool Development Grant (PDG) program to be administered jointly by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education.

For more information about additions related to early education, see a commentary from Laura Bornfreund at the New America Foundation.

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

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  • phone: 919.962.2001
  • fax: 919.966.7463
  • email: ectacenter@unc.edu

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P120002 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

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