Whether it’s an infant cooing in response to a teacher’s gentle voice in an Early Head Start classroom or a second grader delighting in their teacher’s positive feedback in an elementary school classroom down the street, interactions matter in every education setting across the country.
With this in mind, Teachstone celebrates the dedication and bipartisan work of the many education advocates and government officials who worked tirelessly to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with President Obama’s signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) last week.
As an organization driven to ensure all children and students—regardless of age or grade—are in classrooms with warm, responsive, organized, and instructionally supportive interactions, Teachstone embraces the emphasis on alignment across the age and grade levels in ESSA. With our full range of age level tools to support teachers of infants through 12th graders, Teachstone is poised to support states in their efforts to improve school readiness of low income and disadvantaged children and improve transitions into the K-12 system, as required in the ESSA’s Preschool Development Grants program.
We are thrilled to share this excellent summary of the ESSA from Rachel Demma, Policy Director of the Early Care and Education Consortium (ECEC), of which Teachstone is a proud member. ECEC is the nation’s leading non-profit alliance of high quality multi-state/multi-site community child care providers (both non-profit and tax-paying), key state child care associations, and national educational services provider organizations.
ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT: EARLY CARE AND LEARNING IN THE EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT
On December 10th, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, Congress’ dramatic revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, previously No Child Left Behind. Here’s what you need to know about early care and learning in the new law.
Early care and learning are woven throughout provisions within the new legislation, including those addressing Title I, the Ready to Learn literacy program, Promise Neighborhoods, and charter schools. In addition, language now refers to an educational “pipeline” that extends from early childhood throughout post-secondary education. Section 854B emphasizes Congress’ view that state decisions regarding early learning and child care should be independent of federal choice for parents through a mixed delivery system of services so parents can determine the right early learning and child care option for their children.
However, the centerpiece of early care and learning in the new law is under the umbrella of Preschool Development Grants, found in Section 9212. This set of provisions actually refers to the coordination of comprehensive mixed delivery systems of all early care and learning programs within states, including all federally, state, and privately funded programs serving low and moderate-income children. This encompasses child care, Early Head Start and Head Start, licensed family and center-based child care programs, public schools, and community-based organizations.
Here is a brief summary of the new Preschool Development Grants program:
With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, complemented by last year’s reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), states are poised to leverage new statutory reach to align state systems and expand access to high-quality early care and learning programs, including state-funded preschool for children from low- and moderate-income families. However, both federal and state resources remain critical in order to maximize the impact of both newly minted laws. With adequate levels of investment behind them, these key legislative packages may open new inroads that significantly advance how we support America’s workforce of today and tomorrow.
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From coast to coast and around the globe, there’s a common thread that unites teachers: wanting to be better for their students.
Even when things are tough in education, educators are striving to be their best. Their dedication to equitable, ongoing development is what inspires Teachstone’s work. It will take a systematic, data-driven approach to reach the day when all children are afforded excellent education and care. And, we are enthusiastic partners in getting to that goal.
By the end of every summer, the education world erupts with talk about back-to-school. This year was no different. The air was full of optimism. Vaccines had rolled out, many of us took our first vacation in a year and a half, and my inbox was full of the “best back to school” sales. Sadly, as quickly as many schools welcomed children back into the classroom with open arms, they were forced to close again due to increases in COVID-19 infections.
Admins, teachers, students, and families alike may be feeling concerned, cautiously optimistic, pessimistic, or confused. If you’re like me, you might feel all of the above all at once. But, I am taking comfort in knowing that this year, we are armed with more data.
Teachstone applauds the removal of three Confederate statues in Charlottesville, VA. Our organization is headquartered in this Southern city and we have seen first-hand the visceral reaction evoked by these tributes to figureheads of the Lost Cause movement. While the cause of the Confederacy in the Civil War has been lost, the war on racism has not yet been won.
Every state, every district, every school, every teacher faced decisions that they had never anticipated in the last academic year. As the end of the 2020-2021 school year approaches, it’s time to reflect on those decisions, learn from others, and prepare for the fall ahead.