(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), bipartisan legislation from U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to rewrite No Child Left Behind. The legislation, which now moves to the President’s desk for approval, includes key provisions to improve educational stability for students experiencing homelessness.
“Students struggling with homelessness face incredible barriers to enroll, attend, and succeed in school. Given the challenges of constant mobility and a lack of basic necessities, we should be doing everything possible to ensure these students have the support they need to get ahead,” said Senator Murray. “Throughout my career and in the Every Student Succeeds Act, I have made this a priority, and I look forward to the President signing this legislation into law.”
Since No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002, there has been a 100 percent increase in the number of students struggling with homelessness in public schools, according to the National Center on Homeless Education. ESSA strengthens requirements to ensure students struggling with homelessness, including preschool-age students, have the support they need to enroll in school and excel in the classroom. Under ESSA, liaisons who work with homeless youth will receive the training they need to fulfill their responsibilities. The agreement also improves school stability and educational support for vulnerable children in foster care, who face similar challenges and barriers to school success.
“Schools are uniquely poised to help prevent and respond to homelessness – to meet homeless children and youth’s immediate needs, and to provide a ladder up and out of homelessness. The Every Student Succeeds Act incorporates best practices from school districts across the country in identifying and serving homeless students; it will help ensure that today’s homeless children and youth receive the education they need to avoid homelessness and poverty as adults,” said Barbara Duffield, Director of Policy and Programs, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.
Throughout her career, Senator Murray has made it her priority to address the needs of students struggling with homelessness, including introducing legislation to help these students succeed in school, removing barriers and provide support for homeless students in higher education, and ensuring youth who have experienced homelessness have access to affordable housing while pursuing an education.