Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) ushers in a new era in public education for students, families, and educators, and closes the chapter on the formerly one-size-fits-all approach. The ESSA will ensure every student has access to a high quality education, regardless of ZIP code, and that strategies to engage families and communities are central to school improvement efforts.

Key Provisions

  • Authorizes Statewide Family Engagement Centers to support and provide comprehensive training on parent education and family-school partnerships.
  • Requires assurance that states will collect and disseminate to local educational agencies and schools effective parent and family engagement strategies.
  • Provides resources to improve school climate, including school safety initiatives and activities to address bullying and harassment.
  • Supports programs that reach parents and families where they are, including at home, in the community, and at school.
  • Includes provisions for the Community Support for School Success program, which provides grants for full-service community schools. Programs may include: “high-quality early childhood education programs; high-quality school and out-of-school time programs and strategies; Support for a child’s transition to elementary school, from elementary school to middle school, from middle school to high school, and from high school into and through post-secondary education and into the workforce; family and community engagement and supports including engaging or supporting families at school or at home; activities that support workforce readiness including job training, internship opportunities and career counseling; social, health, nutrition, and mental health services and supports; juvenile crime prevention and rehabilitation programs.”
  • Authorizes a new $250 million early childhood education program.
  • Requires school districts to inform parents and guardians of opt-out policies, and allows them to have their children opt out of statewide standardized tests where state and local policies permit.