- The Every Student Succeeds Act creates a major focus on preschool and asks states and districts to pay attention to early childhood education, following a long tradition of starting with kindergarten.
- EdSource reports new guidance from the U.S. Department of Education covers how ESSA funding can be used to train preschool teachers, support English learners as they transition to kindergarten, and finance charter-based preschools.
- ESSA requires schools receiving Title I funds to coordinate with local Head Start programs, at a minimum, and in addition to reiterating this responsibility, the guidance document asks districts to build early childhood education into their own financial planning.
The U.S. public education system has continued to expand since it was created. In a growing number of cities and states, universal pre-K is part of public school. And local partnerships are developing a united front to offer support for children from cradle to career. Debt-free and tuition-free college efforts are a part of this expansion as advocates push for universal access to community college or even four-year public schools.
On the early learning side of things, schools and districts are getting greater freedom to focus on the early childhood years as a long-term approach to improving test scores starting in third grade. Schools that see a wide variety in kindergarten preparedness may be the ones most motivated to turn their sights outside of the district, to community childcare and preschool options, or even to start new preschool programs in their existing schools.