AFT Members,

Thank you for your tireless advocacy over the past several months. As a result, I have exciting news to share.

Last week, the Senate, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote (81-17), passed the Every Child Achieves Act—a bill overhauling No Child Left Behind, as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is currently known. And earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed its version of an ESEA reauthorization bill.

While the House bill has significant problems, the House and Senate will soon meet to bridge their differences and create a single bill to send to the president. This means we are closer to getting a much-needed reset in our federal education policy than we have been in more than 14 years.

Help us by sending a thank-you to the senators who voted for this bill and urging those who voted “no” not to stand in the way of approving the reset we all need.

We couldn’t have gotten this far without your help.

Our members and activists—more than 100,000 people just like you—sent letters, made calls, held meetings with members of Congress, organized lobby days and spoke up on social media. The Every Child Achieves Act is stronger because of it.

The Senate bill protects ESEA’s original intent of providing extra support to the kids who need it most. It stops the federal secretary of education from closing schools or dictating teacher evaluations, and resets accountability by eliminating the test-and-punish policies that have narrowed curriculum but not the achievement gap.

See how your senators voted and send them a message.

Getting this result was not easy. Although the Senate bill has bipartisan support, it was a dogfight every day.

Thanks to your hard work, we were part of the discussions in a real way. Now, as the House and Senate go to conference committee, we will urge conferees to use the Senate bill as the basis of any final agreement.

This framework gives us the best chance to get a final bill for the president’s signature that includes what Americans need and want:

  • No more NCLB, Race to the Top or waivers.
  • No more mandatory teacher evaluation from the federal government.
  • No more federal school closings.
  • No more federal accountability system that applies to the whole country.
  • New authorization for full-service community schools and early childhood programs.
  • Ability for districts to study workplace conditions and supports.
  • And—while the funding levels have not increased—no school districts will lose money.

Our work is not done; we still have to get through conference and get a bill signed into law. But we are off to a great start.

Send the senators who helped make this happen a thank-you note, and remind those who voted NO that they are standing in the way of getting us the much-needed reset we have been working toward for more than a decade.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President

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