On Monday, August 1st, FFYF and over 30 national and state organizations formally responded in joint comments to the Department of Education’s (ED) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) addressing Accountability and State Plans in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which became law on December 10, 2015.

In the new law, Congress expressly names early learning as an area for states, districts and their partners to elevate, expand and better integrate with K-12 education. In addition to this recent round of proposed regulations, ED has held several listening sessions in order to engage stakeholders from across the country in the early stages of implementation. Publication of the NPRM on May 31, 2016, offered the field an opportunity to comment on the early learning provisions.

The joint letter intends to clarify where the regulations can facilitate state-access to federal funding. These funds will allow states to further their work on developing and implementing a system that promotes school readiness by investing in the nation’s youngest learners. Additionally, these comments aim to clarify areas where regulation can support ESSA’s focus on early learning with fidelity to the intent of the law, as passed by Congress. Access to high-quality early learning opportunities prior to elementary school profoundly impacts the healthy development and learning of young children.

By elevating and supporting what states are already doing to ensure children enter school ready to learn, we are putting students on a path to graduate from college ready to succeed in their chosen careers and in life.

Comments are available to the public, and can be accessed here.