It took years of debate but central Pennsylvania educators can cheer Congress’ passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. This represents a breakthrough for local school districts.
This new legislation gives our local schools more flexibility to decide what works best for our students.
And it came about because of something we rarely see in Washington these days — bipartisan agreement.
Equally important is new language, tucked into the law, about a program known as Title 1. It’s a program that invests critical resources to educate the poorest children in our community. ESSA specifically allows Title I funding for “integrated student supports” that seek to remove the educational barriers that low-income students so often endure: hunger, homelessness and the lack of caring adult in their lives.
Communities In Schools Pennsylvania has been providing this kind of support for more then 20 years, and our 97 percent stayed in school leaves no doubt that all students can flourish when their social, emotional and physical needs are being met.
Congress has sent a clear message that K-12 education ought to be one priority we all can agree on — especially when it comes to educational opportunities for our most vulnerable young people.
Ryan Riley, Harrisburg
The writer is president and state director of Communities In Schools Pennsylvania.