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Letter to President-Elect Biden on the Fifth Anniversary of the Every Student Succeeds Act

Evidence suggests the COVID-19 pandemic has widened opportunity gaps that have long plagued our education system. The lack of federal leadership displayed by the U.S. Department of Education over the past four years has compounded the negative impact of the pandemic on our children’s education. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) codified vital equity guardrails that, if implemented with fidelity to the law, can serve as important tools for addressing the instructional loss and social-emotional stress or trauma caused by the pandemic, which have disproportionately affected students of color, students from low-income
backgrounds, English learners, students with disabilities, Native students, students experiencing homelessness, and other historically underserved populations.

Building on our memo to the Biden-Harris Transition team offering recommendations in many areas of education policy—particularly the need for significant, additional COVID-19 stimulus for state and local governments and for targeted relief for
K-12 education—All4Ed and 20 civil rights and education organizations submitted the below recommendations to President-Elect Biden to highlight the importance of ESSA in assuring education as a civil right during the pandemic and beyond.