A major milestone has been reached in our national education legislation: a Senate committee has approved a new version of the bipartisan bill with important opportunities for schools to employ an expanded learning day for students. This version of the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, formerly known as "No Child Left Behind") has been approved by the Senate's bipartisan Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Among its reforms and innovations, the bill increases the flexibility that school districts have to employ 21st Century Learning Centers, forge partnerships with non-profit organizations, and use additional time in their efforts to transform struggling schools.
These changes would allow more communities to benefit from the expanded opportunities that Citizen Schools can bring students. Citizen Schools CEO and co-founder Eric Schwarz issued this statement celebrating the progress:
As a provider of both after-school and expanded learning time programs throughout the nation, Citizen Schools applauds the bipartisan passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
The bill takes important strides forward for children across the country by incorporating critical new reforms, including flexibility for local communities to invest in high-quality afterschool, summer and expanded learning opportunities that have proven track records of success.
We also support the bill’s inclusion of an additional School Improvement Grant (SIG) model that allows schools to partner with high-quality non-profit organizations to help turn schools around, as well as additional opportunities for non-profit partners to assist local schools and districts with education reforms.
The committee's action is monumental. Such an action has not been achieved for ten years and it demonstrates terrific bipartisanship at a time when many think it impossible.