Today, the president signed the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the nation's most significant federal education law. ESSA, which replaced the often unpopular and problematic No Child Left Behind Act, contains key provisions that advance the vision of community schools. The bill’s passage is a pivotal moment for the community schools movement. It empowers state and district leaders to rethink strategies to support all students to succeed and to see their communities as vital partners in that effort.
The bill includes provisions that bolster the community schools vision, including broader indicators beyond academics in accountability systems; supportive programs, including Full Service Community Schools, Promise Neighborhoods, and 21st Century Community Learning Centers; and a new set of tools and resources to strengthen results-focused school-community partnerships. Together, these provisions support a comprehensive strategy to address the multiple factors in young people’s lives.