ESSA – What is the Every Student Succeeds Act?
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the new K-12 federal education law, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces No Child Left Behind. It was signed into law in 2015 and will be phased in over the next few years. The law was designed to increase opportunities for local input and flexible decision making based on what communities and states need. A key goal of the new law is to ensure all students have access to a quality education—inside and outside the classroom.
The law has 10 Titles (sections), three of which are very important for afterschool:
- Title I – Includes school accountability and interventions (like afterschool) to help support students. Each state is now determining how schools will be held accountable (i.e., how to measure a good school) and local districts with community input will be expected to determine what supports they need to be successful.
- Title II – Includes teacher professional development including ways where school day and afterschool teachers can work and be trained in coordination.
- Title IV – Includes two important parts:
- Title IV A has funding for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants.
- Title IV B funds the 21st Century Community Learning Centers – the largest federal funding stream for afterschool, before school and summer programs.
What You (as a program, parent, partner) Can Do:
1. Keep track of timelines, input/listening sessions and progress within your state: Wyoming ESSA Resources
2. Who should you reach out to and how? How can networks and providers get involved?
3. Be prepared with talking points about how afterschool helps: Talking points for ESSA Titles
4. Send a letter to superintendents and principals to let them know how your program is poised to help: Sample letter to superintendents or principals
5. Share research about afterschool and student success indicators