ESSA Marks A Momentous Step Forward for Expanded Learning Time

Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the long-awaited reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  The new law, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, makes broad changes to the nation's most important education law.  Among its many improvements over NCLB,   it marks a momentous step forward to support and replicate high-quality expanded learning time schools that better meet the needs of our children living in poverty.  Jennifer Davis, President and co-Founder of the National Center on Time & Learning said:

"NCTL strongly supports the new ESSA, its focus on school improvement, resource equity, accountability, and its support for expanded learning time schools.  We applaud President Obama, Secretary Duncan, and the congressional leaders who negotiated this landmark bipartisan bill, specifically Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee and Chairman Kline and Ranking Member Scott of the House Education and Workforce committee.  We also thank Senator Warren for her commitment and leadership in ensuring that federal law and funding will support expanded learning time schools in all 50 states.

"For the first time, federal law defines expanded learning time and specifically includes expanded learning time in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, the largest federal program devoted to expanding learning opportunities and promoting a well-rounded education for students.  States and districts will also have access to a new state-level school improvement fundfocused on improving our lowest performing schools that can be used to implement expanded-time school redesigns.  Together, these two programs will enable communities that choose to pursue expanded-time schools to tap into approximately $2 billion of federal funding.

"Expanded learning time as a school turnaround strategy has taken hold in districts throughout the nation, with the number of such ELT schools doubling to over 2,000 across the country in the last few years.  The federal government has now advanced the potential of that strategy to have greater impact by  strengthening its support for states, districts, and schools that are increasing high-quality learning time for students and making possible more professional time for teachers, and integrating outside partners into expanded school days and years to help broaden student skills and interests. "

The National Center on Time & Learning partnered with the After School Alliance, Citizen Schools and over 600 other organizations to advocate for the 21st CCLC program.  

Read more in Education Week.