This year, what President Obama described as a “Christmas miracle” arrived on December 10 when he signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the first restructuring of K-12 education policy in nearly 15 years in the country.
The new law passed Congress with bipartisan support proving that the nation’s leaders believe in the power of education in preparing youth to succeed in the 21st Century global economy.
ESSA focuses less on standardized tests, limits federal control over schools, and equips states with the power to measure, identify and remedy performance and academic inequality.
The new law is an important milestone for Communities In Schools. For the first time in the history of our organization, specific language allowing Title 1 funding for integrated student supports (wraparound services) - a local and school-based approach that removes academic and non-academic barriers to student achievement – in now cited in federal education law.
The magnitude of the accomplishment was not lost on our network. Our affiliates were thrilled about the law’s potential to impact the students we serve.
Below is a recap from a number of affiliates who shared their views on ESSA with the media:
In a letter to Times Leader, Ryan Riley, president and state director of Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania writes, “Congress has sent a clear message that K-12 education ought to be one priority we all can agree on, especially when it comes to educational opportunities for our most vulnerable young people.”
Eric Hall, president and CEO of Communities In Schools of North Carolina, shares his thoughts on ESSA with Education NC - “We are hopeful, that through the newly crafted Every Student Succeeds Act, that schools and communities across the state will consider this new law as an opportunity to evaluate the needs of their schools and utilize the new flexibility provided to do all that they can to meet the diverse needs of all students.” Click here to read more.
In speaking with Fox 14 TV, Lashawn Taylor, affiliate director for Communities In Schools at Southeast Kansas explains, "We work with some academic barriers and non- academic barriers. We do wrap around services. We find resources in the community that would serve that child and the family to make sure that child comes to school and stays in school." Watch the full TV clip here.