Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Passes Senate
Justice Roundtable
December 9, 2015

On December 9, the Senate passed by a vote of 85-12 the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) or the elementary and secondary education reauthorization bill, which improves access to quality education for young people involved in and returning from the juvenile justice system.  This vote represents final passage of the bill by Congress and now the legislation awaits President Obama’s signature to become law. He is expected to sign this bill before the holidays.
New provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act will help improve the success of youth involved in the juvenile justice system and strengthen reentry outcomes by providing increased access to education and supports upon reentry. Under the law, states receiving Title 1, Part D funding for prevention and intervention programs for children and youth who are neglected, delinquent or at risk, must promote:
1.  Smoother transitions into juvenile justice facilities, including records transfer, better planning and coordination of education between facilities and local education agencies, and educational assessment upon entry into a correctional facility, when practicable;
2.  Strengthened reentry to the community, including requiring education planning, credit transfer, and timely re-enrollment in appropriate educational placements for youth transitioning between correctional facilities and local educational agencies and programs, and requiring correctional facilities receiving funds under the law to coordinate educational services with local educational agencies so as to minimize education disruption;
3.  Opportunities to earn credits in secondary, postsecondary, or career/technical programming, and requiring transfer of secondary credits to the home school district upon reentry;
4.  Prioritizing achievement of a regular high school diploma;
5.  Services for youth who have had contact with both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.


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