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Passage of ESSA Is Celebration of Collaboration

Saskia Traill

Saskia Traill is Vice President of Policy & Research at ExpandED Schools.

I started at ExpandED Schools (then TASC) in 2009, just as we were piloting expanded learning. Then, after-school and expanded learning were seen by many as competitors. There was deep concern about after-school and expanded learning co-existing as models that schools and community partners could adopt depending on their needs and preferences. Yesterday's passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act maintains a separate funding stream for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which includes after-school, before-school, summer or expanded learning time. We were successful in preserving 21st Century in the bill in part because the broad field of those who wish to close the learning gap came together. The Afterschool Alliance, many other after-school advocates and expanded learning proponents co-signed letters and worked through differences. Many others had to come together for this to pass, and we should celebrate our ability to work collaboratively and to find solutions.

I hope this provides a strong foundation for us to advocate effectively for funding for 21st Century programs, which give children extra time and ways to develop social, emotional and academic competencies to succeed in school and life.


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