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Letter to the Senate Vote Yes on Cloture - S. 1177

July 15, 2015

Dear Senator: 

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association (NEA), and the students they serve, we urge you to VOTE YES this morning on cloture to “The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015” (S. 1177).  Votes associated with this issue will be included in NEA’s Legislative Report Card for the 114th Congress. 

S. 1177 represents a strong bipartisan effort to begin to correct more than 13 years of failed policies under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Today, the Senate is on the cusp of an historic opportunity to take a major step toward completing a much needed rewrite of the broken law and move us closer to fulfilling the original goals of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  

Our members have spoken in unprecedented numbers, urging the Senate to move forward with ESEA reauthorization and to get it right, especially for the students with the greatest educational needs. While S. 1177, in its current form, is not a perfect bill, it does include significant improvements to current law that will benefit all students. Improvements include: 

  • moving decision-making to the people who know the names of the students they educate, while maintaining supports that ensure a zip code does not determine quality of education;
  • incentivizing supports and interventions that are tailored to local needs while importantly preserving the historic federal role in protecting students most in need;
  • encouraging communities, parents and educators to work together to improve schools – NOT dictating a one-size-fits-all approach;
  • requiring use of multiple measures of student success;
  • requiring state-designed accountability systems to include, for the first time, indicators of school success or student support – such as access to advanced coursework;
  • creating a pilot program for state-designed assessments driving by teaching and learning;
  • incorporating the SMART Act to help states audit and streamline assessments, and eliminate those that are not necessary;
  • maintaining the right of parents and guardians to opt their children out of statewide standardized tests; and,
  •  providing greater access to early childhood education.

We applaud the Senate for working together to reach this long-delayed historic moment of reauthorizing ESEA, and urge you to complete that process. Please Vote Yes on cloture this morning.   

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations