The NCSL Blog


By Matt Weyer

Implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has recently been identified by NCSL as a  top 10 issue facing state legislators in 2018.

Girl studying beneath treeState departments of education are required to consult with legislators to develop and implement state plans.

ESSA provides states with new flexibility to shape and improve their educational systems, including early learning for preschool through third grade (P-3).

In a new NCSL LegisBrief, several policy strategies are highlighted to provide state legislators with a sample of some of the innovative approaches states are taking, including:

  • Including P-3 in school improvement strategies.
  • Improving equity by addressing the opportunity gap.
  • Encouraging P-3 indicators in state and local report cards.
  • Supporting professional development for preschool teachers.
  • Enhancing transitions from preschool to kindergarten.

As implementation unfolds, state legislators can consult with their local and state education officials to further improve outcomes for P-3 students.

A new report, A Fair Start: Ensuring all Students Are Ready to Learn from the NCSL State Policy and Research for Early Education (SPREE) Working Group provides additional ideas for policy options to improve early education.

Matt Weyer is a senior policy specialist in NCSL’s Education Program

Email Matt

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.