Community school supporters have good reason to celebrate important federal policy wins that occurred in July. On July 16, the U.S. Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act by a vote of 81-17. (Every Child Achieves is intended to replace No Child Left Behind.) We are thrilled to share that two community school amendments offered by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have passed as part of the Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act bill. One amendment authorizes a full-service community schools grant program, and the second-which passed unanimously- makes resource coordinators an allowable use of Title IV funds. We commend Senators Brown and Manchin for their leadership in the Senate, and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) for his long-standing championship across Capitol Hill for community schools. We are thrilled with these victories and heartened by the passage of the Senate bill that moves us a step closer toward reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
"This victory demonstrates the growing bipartisan support for the community school strategy," states Martin J. Blank, President of the Institute for Educational Leadership and Director of the Coalition. "More and more Senators are hearing from their constituents about the growth and impact of community schools in their states, and the strong return on investment that community schools yield for young people, families and their communities."
Mary Kingston Roche, the Coalition’s Director of Public Policy, adds, "These wins prove the power of our Coalition’s over 200 national, state and local partners who made this victory possible. By coming together around the vision of community schools, partners representing educators, families, youth development, health, and civil rights rallied for these amendments and achieved strong bipartisan support. It is this united front that made these amendments successful and makes the community schools strategy so powerful." To Read Our Full ESEA Press Release Click Here.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind, NCLB) - is a federal statute which was enacted in 1965. This Act funds primary and secondary education. The Obama Administration has released its Blueprint for revising the ESEA, which will ask states to ensure that their academic standards prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace, and to create accountability systems that recognize student growth and school progress toward meeting that goal. Follow the U.S. Department of Education’s ESEA re-authorization blog.
In the 114th Congress, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) -- chairman of the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions -- released his draft bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and Congress is quickly seeking its reauthorization. Integrating community school principles into the reauthorized ESEA is a key priority for the Coalition. Review our ESEA Reauthorization Framework.
The following Titles of ESEA have provided supportive language to support community schools:
· School Improvement Grants - (Title I of ESEA Act) are awarded to the lowest-performing Title I schools. Community schools can use these funds to support a variety of programs and activities.
· 21st Century Community Learning Centers- (Title IV of ESEA Act)are dedicated to out-of-school time programming to provide learning opportunities for academic enrichment, including program activities in the arts, music, recreation, drug and violence prevention, and youth development activities. It is a formula grant allocated to State Education Agencies (SEAs).
The following federal pieces of legislation were introduced in Congress to support community schools. These bills offer a vehicle to infuse community school principles into a reauthorized ESEA.
Supporting Community Schools Act (HR 718)- This Act, introduced in 2015 by Senator Honda (D-CA) proposes the Community School Strategy as an intervention model for school improvement in the ESEA.
Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act (HR 495) - The legislation authorizes grants to states to incentivize partnerships between schools, parents, business leaders, higher education institutions, and community-based organizations in order to ensure the success of our nation’s youth. The DIPLOMA Act draws on the community schools strategy and other successful models to promote a shared approach to education through integrating services framework in order to build community ownership for change, and strengthen results for children and youth.
Full Service Community Schools Act - The FSCS Act was first introduced by House Representative Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to authorize the Secretary of Education to award grants to: (1) eligible entities to assist public elementary or secondary schools to function as full-service community schools; and (2) state collaborative to support development of full-service community school programs. In the 113th congress it was introduced by Steny. H Hoyer again as a bipartisan bill. In the 114th congress there is a Full Service Community Schools amendment pending for the Every Child Achieves Act in the Senate currently sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). Learn more about the Full Service Community Schools program here.