Melissa Mellor

ESEA Reauthorization and the Whole Child

Educators must take advantage of the impending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to ensure that a comprehensive whole child approach to learning becomes a national priority, writes ASCD Executive Director Gene Carter in his "Is It Good for the Kids?" column this month.

Carter points out that promising examples of a coordinated, whole child approach to education exist at the local and state levels, from superintendents in Pennsylvania and Washington State who have integrated the whole child framework into their district improvement plans to education, youth, and community groups in Massachusetts that have joined together to spearhead Success for Life, a collaborative effort to advance the lifelong prospects of youth.

The federal government is beginning to take a cue from these local efforts, Carter contends, but hasn't made the whole child approach enough of a priority by including it in the Race to the Top Fund's competitive priorities.

With ESEA reauthorization looming, Carter calls for Secretary Duncan and the Obama administration to put action behind their words, bringing together a national summit that draws attention to, coordinates, and expands on promising local efforts to support the whole child.

Do you see examples of a whole child approach at the local level? What do you think the federal government can learn from local and state efforts?

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