CLASP's youth policy work aims to advance policy and practice that will dramatically improve the education, employment, and life outcomes for youth in communities of high youth distress. Learn more>>

Pathways to Reconnection for Disconnected Youth

We advocate for federal policies that meet the education and training needs of the millions of young people ages 16 to 24 who are disconnected from school and employment.  Read more>>

Building the Capacity of Communities

We work with communities to identify and highlight effective cross-system approaches that can provide opportunities for youth to complete their education, enter the labor market and improve their life outcomes. Read more>>

Supports and Strategies for Youth of Color 

We highlight the depth of the disadvantaged and disconnected youth problem for young people of color in some of the nation's most challenged communities and propose strategic solutions. Read more>>

Dec 18, 2015  |  PERMALINK »

The Potential of ESSA to Support Low-income Young Children and Disconnected Youth

By: Clarence Okoh and Christina Walker

Last week, President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) or No Child Left Behind Act. The new law, renamed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), includes provisions that have the potential to advance educational equity for some of our most marginalized youth and young children, if state and local leaders and policymakers seize the opportunity.

One of the pillars of ESSA is the continued use of student data to promote school accountability, and the law contains strong provisions that continue the collection and disaggregation of student achievement and school resource data by race, income, and disability status. The disaggregation of data enables education leaders and advocates in identifying the persistent and troubling gaps in areas such as academic proficiency, per pupil expenditures, and teacher quality.   However, ESSA falls short of disaggregating data within the Asian Pacific Islander student population, making it more challenging to identify opportunity gaps for underserved youth in those communities.

ESSA supports effective dropout prevention strategies such as afterschool programs and community schools, emphasizing the importance of community partners through 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the Community Support for School Success programs. ESSA also requires states to specify how they will effectively transition students from middle school to high school and from high school to postsecondary education. Both periods are critical to ensuring students graduate from high school on time and successfully transition into adulthood.

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Investing in Young Men of Color as Community Assets

On July 17, CLASP held its annual forum on boys and young men of color. "Investing in Young Men of Color as Community Assets" highlighted effective practices and policies that can close the gaps in education, employment, and health outcomes for boys and young men of color. Additionally, it discussed targeted federal investments in communities of concentrated poverty and creating opportunities for boys and young men of color to thrive.

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