Analysis: Early Learning Provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act
In December 2015, Congress approved, and President Obama signed, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, P.L. 114-95) to replace the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This latest update to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act includes an array of important early learning provisions, including language authorizing a new Preschool Development Grant program to be jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education. ESSA’s provisions also aim to promote early learning coordination within communities; greater alignment with the early elementary grades; and early childhood education focused capacity building among teachers, leaders, and other staff serving young children. This memorandum summarizes these provisions with the goal of helping community, state, and district leaders begin planning for the law’s implementation and maximize these provision’s impact on student outcomes. The First Five Years Fund (FFYF) encourages you to read this summary in conjunction with our side-by-side comparison of the new law’s statutory language with No Child Left Behind. Readers should also refer to the statute, and later U.S. Department of Education regulations and guidance, for additional, more detailed information.