This policy brief, developed by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), provides insight into how states are incorporating early learning into their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans. Overall, ESSA has allowed states the flexibility to incorporate early learning into school accountability and improvement strategies in their plans, although there are few requirements in ESSA to address early learning. Many states included early learning or school readiness in some manner in their plans, with some making early learning a priority.
This brief identifies state efforts that are highlighted according to three topics areas that are considered to have a significant impact on early learning planning and implementation (p. 3).
The three topics for early learning in ESSA are as follows:
- Establish goals and policies that support early learning which demonstrate a commitment to early learning to support future student academic success.
- Integrate early learning as a school improvement strategy which includes four elements—identifying low-performing schools, supporting and monitoring low-performing schools, public reporting of certain indices, and state and district accountability measures.
- Support early learning professional development and technical assistance opportunities.
In an appendix, this resource provides a table that summarizes how states addressed early learning opportunities within their ESSA plans. Hyperlinks are provided for accessing additional information.