On December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA), reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Under the previous version of ESEA (the No Child Left Behind Act), the education of homeless children and youth was included in Title X, Part C. Under ESSA, homeless education is included in Title IX, Part A. ESSA strengthens ESEA in notable ways, including new provisions related to the education of homeless children and youth.
Under ESSA, the new law: Provides appropriate school personnel with the training to identify, enroll, and support homeless children and youth.
Assists young homeless children to access early childhood programs. Boosts academic achievement by ensuring that homeless children and youth can stay in the same school when it is in their best educational interest.
Improves high school graduation and college readiness by maximizing credit accrual, ensuring college counseling and access to financial aid, providing school stability during the vulnerable transition from middle school to high school, and requiring states to report disaggregated achievement and graduation data for homeless youth.
Though the law has changed, our program goals have not. In addition to the goals listed above, Bessemer City Schools will continue to:
1. ensure that all children and youth experiencing homelessness enroll, participate, and have the opportunity to succeed in school;
2. ensure children and youth experiencing homelessness receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) on an equal basis with all other children in the district; and
3. reduce educational barriers through the use of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.