What Does the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Mean for Early Childhood Education? A History of NCLB’s Impact on Early Childhood Education and Insights for the Future Under ESSA
by Michelle Salazar Pérez - 2018
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has had profound and lasting impacts on early childhood education both in the public education sector and in preschool contexts. In light of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the newest iteration of NCLB, I first trace the history of NCLB’s influence on early childhood, which has resulted in placing greater emphasis on assessments for young children, creating early learning standards, and universalizing corporate notions of quality. I then examine several of the new and modified aspects of ESSA, which encourage alignment of early childhood education with K-12 education and across early childhood programs, increased assessments for emergent bilingual children, and the expansion of early childhood education through market-based reforms. With unprecedented emphasis on young children, ESSA will likely have instrumental impacts on early childhood education for years to come.
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