The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act represents a breakthrough. It follows years of debate about the right balance of federal vs. local influence in public education.

This new legislation will give our local schools more flexibility to decide what works best for our students. And it came about because of something we rarely see in Washington these days — bipartisan agreement.

Equally important is new language, tucked into the law, about a program known as Title I. It’s a program that invests critical resources to educate the poorest children in our community. ESSA specifically allows Title I funding for “integrated student supports” that seek to remove the educational barriers that low-income students so often endure: hunger, homelessness and the lack of a caring adult in their lives.

Communities In Schools of Charleston has been providing this kind of support for 27 years in the Lowcountry, and our 98 percent graduation rate leaves no doubt that all students can flourish when their social, emotional and physical needs are being met.

Congress has sent a clear message that K-12 education ought to be one priority we all can agree on — especially when it comes to educational opportunities for our most vulnerable young people.

Jane Riley Gambrell

Executive Director

Communities In Schools

of the Charleston Area

East Montague Avenue

North Charleston