A new resource from FFYF released today details how states are leveraging the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to develop new, or bolster ongoing early childhood education (ECE) efforts.

Early Learning in State ESSA Plans: How States Are Using The Law

As of January 2018, all consolidated state plans have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education and undergone review. These consolidated state plans are preliminary indicator of how states intend to implement the new law. A subsequent series of state- and district-level decisions are forthcoming in operationalizing their ESSA plans.

Based on the ESSA plans submitted by states, there is a clear sign that states see ECE as an integral part of their education systems and pipeline—from how they can help schools improve to how they are holding schools accountable.

What’s most telling is that few early-learning related provisions of ESSA are mandated. This resource demonstrates that, right from the outset, states are voluntarily electing to articulate and broaden pathways for ECE opportunities within the larger continuum of learning.

In fact, 13 states have reported plans to incorporate early learning into their state accountability system under Title I. What’s more, 15 states and the District of Columbia specify early learning as a strategy for school improvement within Title I. This is a clear sign that states see ECE as a pivotal piece of the education system.

From every corner of the nation, in Red and Blue states alike, these consolidated state plans have not missed the opportunity to meaningfully factor in early learning as a cornerstone of their education systems.

To learn more about early learning in ESSA, view our new resource here.