Every Student Succeeds Act Helps Put Equity Front and Center, Say Experts

While the U.S. child poverty rate is higher today than ever before, its impact is compounded by education policies that fail to address poverty-related impediments to teaching and learning. At a recent panel discussion held at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and sponsored by the organization, Broader, Bolder Approach to Education (BBA), panelists called for policy reforms to address the impact of poverty on schools, students, families, and neighborhoods.
The Broader, Bolder Approach campaign originally launched in 2008 to call attention to the root causes of inequity in education. As the core of BBA’s policy agenda – early childhood education, support for health care and nutrition, afterschool and summer enrichment programs – has become more prominent in the national debate, the organization relaunched its mission this month to help draw even more attention to these important initiatives.
“Policy members are now addressing in-school and out-of-school barriers to success,” said Elaine Weiss, BBA’s national coordinator.
Now that Congress has replaced the disastrous test-driven No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law with the promise of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), state and district policy agendas can now more effectively mitigate poverty’s impact.
“ESSA claws back some of the most problematic federal accountability requirements, and it emphasizes the need for social and emotional, as well as traditional academic, measures of student success,” Weiss said. “It also sets aside new money for investments in quality pre-kindergarten …