We know that improved education outcomes start with quality early childhood education from birth to age five. It prevents the achievement gap, increases school readiness and builds a solid foundation for success in college, career and life. With the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) slated for reauthorization, we have the opportunity to further recognize early childhood education as a key building block for achieving our nation’s college- and career-readiness goals.
States and communities have made high-quality early learning an essential part of their long-term strategy for education reform, and a reauthorized ESEA can provide support for their efforts by better connecting early childhood to K-12 reform. In the years ahead the need to improve student outcomes with limited resources will put more focus on how early learning helps children and families while providing a strong return on investment.
Early learning is firmly embedded in ESEA: there are currently 85 references to "early childhood" in the law. To that end, FFYF has identified six key areas where meaningful and specific reforms would support early learning as a critical piece of the learning continuum:
- Coordinate and Align Early Learning and K-12 Systems
- Align Early Learning with College and Career Readiness
- Promote Teacher and Leader Professional Development and Effectiveness
- Develop Data Systems
- Support State and Local Districts
- Integrate State Systems of Early Learning
Learn more about how ESEA can support state systems of early learning here.