Community News - Education in the US
Monday, April 13, 2015 6:05 AM


This is a big deal: Last week, Sens. Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Murray (D-Wash.) announced that they are unveiling a bipartisan deal to replace No Child Left Behind with a new and improved version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

This deal maintains a strong focus on providing much-needed resources for poor children while doing away with the some of NCLB, waivers and Race To the Top-the overuse and high stakes of tests, the punitive sanctions for schools, and federal mandates for teacher evaluation.

There are still improvements to make, though. This week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is voting on amendments to this bill, and we need your help in ensuring a few key improvements are made.
Senator Al Franken is on the Senate HELP Committee. Will you write to him today?

There are more than 80 proposed amendments, but these five will make a big difference for our schools:

  • The Support Making Assessments Reliable and Timely Act (SMART Act), which supports state audits of testing to identify and reduce duplicative, unnecessary and invalid assessments.
  • Sen. Baldwin’s amendment on resource equity, which would require states to measure the provision of key resources needed to improve student achievement, and to implement plans to address any identified resource gaps.
  • Sens. Bennett, Casey and Whitehouse’s amendment on testing transparency, which would provide parents with clear information about testing, including the purpose of the test; identification of the federal, state or local law, regulation, or policy that established the requirement for the assessment; and the amount of time students will spend taking the test.
  • Sen. Isakson’s amendment, which would ensure that parents are allowed to opt their child out of statewide academic assessments if allowed under state law.
  • Sen. Sanders’ amendment, which would authorize specific funding levels for Titles I, II and III, a crucial amendment given the growing number of public school students living in poverty.
  • Sen. Warren’s amendment, which would require states to report if and how their teacher and leader evaluation systems use valid and reliable measures.

These amendments will have a real-world impact for students and educators, and help get us back to the original intent of ESEA.

Please contact your senator today and urge him to support these amendments.