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Early Learning and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)



The State of Early Learning in ESSA: Plans and Opportunities for Implementation

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law late in 2015, gives state education agencies (SEAs) the opportunity to bring early learning to the forefront of their education strategies.

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) recently released The State of Early Learning in ESSA: Plans and Opportunities for Implementationa policy brief reviewing state plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education as of October 1, 2017.

The review focuses on three key priorities for early learning in ESSA:

  1. Setting clear goals and policy priorities for early learning,
  2. Integrating early learning into school improvement, and
  3. Supporting early childhood educator development.

This policy brief provides guidance for best practices that can be used or adapted as SEA’s evaluate the effectiveness of their plans as states move deeper into implementation. This document also includes a chart showing how each state addresses seven areas within their ESSA plans.

Birth to Grade 3 Indicator Framework: Opportunities to Integrate Early Childhood in ESSA CCSSO/CEELO Toolkit

This newly developed resource summarizes the evidence supporting an early learning approach to school improvement, explains how early learning could fit within the framework of state ESSA plans, and reviews a list of potential indicators of access, academics, and engagement in early childhood education and considerations for states to integrate those indicators into their plans.

Drawing from the B-3 Toolkit, CCSSO and CEELO developed seven discussion guides to support The Illinois ESSA Preschool to grade 2 (P-2) Indicator Working Group. The P-2 working group was charged with recommending to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) an indicator or indicators to place weight on the P-2 years in Illinois’ accountability formula in the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan.  The final report can be found here.

The discussion guides provide research, state examples and technical considerations for considering the following indicators in the state’s accountability system:

These guides may be useful to other states, and can be adapted with state specific information. For further information or technical assistance contact Lori Connors-Tadros at ltadros@nieer.org.

View additional ESSA resources below: