The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation submitted comments on North Carolina’s plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act strongly supporting the inclusion of birth-through-third-grade alignment as a core strategy to achieving our state’s academic goals as well as addressing our significant skills gap.
North Carolina is well-positioned to make the most of new early learning opportunities in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA strengthens federal support for early learning and provides new opportunities for birth-through-third grade alignment, accountability and funding.
Birth-through-third-grade alignment has been recognized by North Carolina leaders, including the General Assembly, Governor and State Superintendent, as a priority and a critical strategy to achieving our state’s academic goals as well as addressing our significant skills gap. The state’s ESSA plan is a vehicle for advancing these goals.
Earlier drafts of NC’s ESSA plan included a focus on birth-to-eight as well as four birth-to-eight strategies that were developed by early learning leaders in partnership with the Office of Early Learning at the Department of Public Instruction. The current draft, however, no longer includes these strategies.
If North Carolina is to improve third grade reading proficiency and high school graduation rates for its students and ensure that our graduates are college and career ready, our ESSA plan must reflect the science of how children develop.
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