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Bicameral #ESEA Proposal: What They’re Saying

After years of executive overreach and congressional inaction, the House is considering today a proposal that would replace No Child Left Behind and rein in the federal government’s ability to intervene in K-12 education.

As news reports highlight, the bicameral legislation, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), reflects principles House Republicans have long-championed: reducing the federal role, restoring local control, and empowering parents.
  • A bipartisan compromise from the House and Senate that … represent(s) the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.Wall Street Journal

  • ESSA as written would accomplish several conservative goals in the realm of education. Most notably, the bill will substantially limit the Department of Education and give more authority to state governments.Daily Caller

  • It promises to get the federal government out of the business of telling states which schools are failing and micromanaging school improvement.American Enterprise Institute Education Experts

  • Notably, the new legislation will go to great lengths to tie the hands of the secretary of the Department of Education by putting strict language where NCLB had left discretion to the department.Deseret News

  • [The measure] mark(s) a major transfer of power and authority over public schools from the federal government to states and local school districts.Washington Post

  • Education secretary could no longer push for academic standards like the Common Core.National Public Radio

  • The ESSA is in many ways a U-turn from the current, much-maligned version of the ESEA law, the No Child Left Behind Actstates get wide discretion in setting goals, figuring out just what to hold schools and districts accountable for, and deciding how to intervene in low-performing schools.Education Week
  • The compromise bill … End(s) waivers the Obama administration has granted to more than 40 states. – Associated Press

  • We might finally be turning the corner on the era of federal micromanagement of K–12 education and leaving No Child Left Behind behind. Slate

  • The Every Student Succeeds Actsignificantly diminish(es) the power of the education secretary and prevent(s) the federal government from using its money and influence to promote national standards like the Common Core.Politico

  • [The bill] send(s) significant powers back to the states and curb the authority of the secretary of education.Wall Street Journal

  • The new law gets rid of many of No Child Left Behind’s most controversial provisions — most notably the rules for how much schools must improve their test scores each year, and the cascading series of punishments for those who fail to make “adequate yearly progress” on tests. Buzzfeed

Because the bill includes numerous reforms to reduce the federal role in K-12 education, organizations representing parents, teachers, and state and local leaders are voicing their strong support for the legislation.

  • The Every Student Succeeds Act is an improvement over current law. National PTA commends Congress for providing greater flexibility to states and districts to meet the needs of all students and acknowledging the essential role of family engagement to student achievement and meaningful school improvement efforts.National PTA

  • Through the Every Student Succeeds Act, states will have the flexibility they need to improve education outcomes for all kids while at the same time maintaining strong accountability. Council of Chief State School Officers

  • The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) expresses our strongest possible support for the elements within the bill that improve equitable services to students and teachers in religious and independent schools.Council for American Private Education

  • The legislation addresses key concerns for school boards: local governance and flexibility that support innovative programs and effectiveness for continued gains in student achievement among all students.National School Boards Association

  • The updates made to the Charter Schools Program (CSP) will strengthen public education by supporting the growth of high-quality public charter schools and increasing educational opportunities for all students. National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

  • [ESSA] empowers state and local education leaders to more effectively operate the systems for which they are responsible.The School Superintendents Association

  • It is a clear example of cooperative federalism, which is a core tenant of this association. It emphasizes that states and localities have the freedom to provide students the world-class education they deserve.National Governor’s Association

  • The bipartisan, common sense charter provisions contained within the ESSA demonstrate that members of Congress are committed to ensuring all American children … have the opportunity to attend a great school.National Association of Charter School Authorizers

  • This effort, culminating in a nearly unanimous conference committee vote, is a true testament to the bipartisan recognition that change is greatly needed in our nation’s education system. ESSA acknowledges the traditional role of states and localities in guiding education policy while maintaining accountability and promoting a more healthy state-federal relationship.National Conference of State Legislatures

  • The Every Student Succeeds Act is clearly designed to rebalance the federal/state partnership on education policy to give states and school districts more flexibility to design their own accountability systems.Business Roundtable

As Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) wrote in the Washington Examiner,

I truly believe the conference committee has reached a strong agreement that reflects conservative priorities in education reform, priorities such as reducing the federal role and restoring local control. Make no mistake: A vote against this bill is a vote for the status quo that leaves the secretary of education with the power to coerce states into adopting Common Core.

It’s time to reject the Washington-knows-best approach to education and advance conservative principles that will help every child – regardless of background, income, or zip code – receive an excellent education. It’s time to deliver the kind of responsible education reforms the American people want and deserve. It’s time to advance the Every Student Succeeds Act.

To read the final bill, click here.

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