Over the past four months, New America and CEELO have published a series of blogs on a wide range of topics by authors with diverse perspectives on early learning and education issues. Posts focused on how states could incorporate early learning into their ESSA plans and offered examples from state plans submitted in April. Below are some highlights and key takeaways, along with a discussion of what’s next.
There is much excitement in the early learning community about the opportunities for support provided by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). New America and the BUILD Initiative and the First Five Years Fund were among those amplifying the U. S. Department of Education’s 2016 nonregulatory guidance on integrating early learning into ESSA. In our earlier work we likewise identified specific opportunities for states to consider when preparing their plan. However, there are many more possibilities than requirements.
While the importance of strong academics is well-known, research now indicates early social-emotional learning (SEL) skills are important elements of school readiness and healthy child development, which are critical for long-term school and life success.
The early childhood provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) enable districts to improve early learning for all children, including young children with disabilities. ESSA allows (but does not require) use of Title I funding for early childhood, birth through third grade education.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) allows states to customize policies to best meet the needs of their learners—much like teachers who design and implement plans for each child to ensure s/he is appropriately challenged and supported to reach personal goals. Now is the time for states to use this opportunity to enhance classroom instruction in meaningful ways for the growing numbers of young dual language learners.