ESEA Legislation Overview

Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, formerly No Child Left Behind) with President Obama signing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law in December 2015. ESSA authorizes the principle funding stream supporting afterschool and summer learning programs, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.

The Every Student Succeeds Act:

We now have a map of your state linking to the page with any available draft plan - if it needs to be updated, let us know. States that have submitted plans for the April 3rd deadline are listed here.

For the first time since 2002 there is a new education law of the land and with change comes opportunity. Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015, reauthorizing the nation’s largest education law 8 years overdue, with many much needed updates and revisions.

Afterschool has a big role to play:

Afterschool Advocates can set the stage now for increasing student access to quality afterschool programs. Some ways states are doing this are by:

  • asking schools to report on how many students participate in afterschool and extra-curricular activities,
  • making sure principals and superintendents are aware of the strong research connecting afterschool with school day student engagement, behavior, attendance and academic performance,
  • securing joint training opportunities for afterschool and school day teachers and connecting school day teachers with hands on learning experiences including fields like Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (known as STEM) in afterschool settings,
  • using afterschool and summer programming as supports that help struggling students build connections whether they be homeless or migrant students, students making the challenging transition between middle and high school, or other students in need
  • and other creative ways

Where to start:

The Afterschool Alliance has an ESSA Toolkit for Advocates page that provides fact sheets, talking points, PowerPoints, background materials, infographics and other aids to help advocates inform themselves and others of the important role afterschool can and should play in student success.

State Activity/Examples:

  • Kentucky: Look at Kentucky’s Draft Accountability System (pg 12) which includes a student’s exposure to essential skills and lists co or extra-curricular activities as one method.
  • Oregon: Visit Oregon’s Draft Plan (pg. 8) to see how they plan to use extended learning opportunities to track indicators of student success.
  • Tennessee: Tennessee’s Draft Plan (pg. 63 of PDF) has schools report on the percentage of students involved in at least one extra-curricular activity.

We also have a map of your state linking to the page with any available draft plan. And learn on what deadline April or September your state plans to submit here.

Learn More:

The ESSA law has 10 Titles (sections), three of which are very important for afterschool:

  • Title I – Includes school accountability and interventions (like afterschool) to help support students. Each state is now determining how schools will be held accountable (i.e., how to measure a good school) and local districts with community input will be expected to determine what supports they need to be successful.
  • Title II – Includes teacher professional development including ways where school day and afterschool teachers can work and be trained in coordination.
  • Title IV – Includes two important parts:
    • Title IV A has funding for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants.
    • Title IV B funds the 21st Century Community Learning Centers – the largest federal funding stream for afterschool, before school and summer programs.

Additional Resources:

The Afterschool Alliance:

Other Resources:

The Alabama Department of Education posted a legislative comparison of the 21st CCLC text in NCLB and ESSA