Last week, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and I stood with an unprecedented coalition of 10 national groups—from PTAs to principals, superintendents to school boards—to tell the U.S. Senate to bring to the floor for a vote the Every Child Achieves Act, the bipartisan bill to reauthorize ESEA.
Since then, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has officially announced the Senate will begin debate on the bill July 7.
This Fourth of July, let’s declare our independence from No Child Left Behind and other failed national education policy, and pass a bill that puts kids first.
Congressional momentum has stalled in the two months since the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved this bill. It is now time for the full Senate to finish the job.
We need a reset in federal education policy that creates the space and latitude schools need to teach children with a well-rounded curriculum, not to fixate on tests.
What we have now—a fixation on high-stakes testing, thanks to No Child Left Behind and exacerbated by Race to the Top—isn’t working for kids, parents, communities or educators.
It’s time for the Senate to pass a bill that maintains the federal commitment to equity by continuing to target federal funds for poor children while putting an end to the test-and-punish model, and getting the federal government out of the business of teacher evaluations.