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NEA President reacts to Senate Opportunity Dashboard vote

Lily Eskelsen García encourages support for identifying and closing opportunity gaps


WASHINGTON - July 15, 2015 -

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García provided the following reaction to the vote on the Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources Amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act:

“Today, a bi-partisan group of Senators voted to improve on the progress that has already been won to expand resource equity provisions contained within the Every Child Achieves Act with an expanded ‘Opportunity Dashboard.’ While we fell short of the required 60 votes, we encourage all Senators to approach a conference committee with a continued desire for every student, regardless of zip code, to have the support, tools, and time to learn.”

Further, Eskelsen García thanked the sponsors of the amendment:

“As educators, we are deeply committed to the success of every student. By leading on the bi-partisan Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources Amendment, Senators Kirk, Reed, Baldwin, and Brown show that they stand with us in the commitment.”

Monday, in a letter to Senators, the NEA stated that votes associated with The Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources Amendment will be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 114th Congress. The amendment would have built on the important progress currently reflected in the Every Child Achieves Act and expand the number of state-determined indicators of school quality and student success to be part of the state designed accountability systems. Required indicators in this amendment include school climate, per pupil expenditures, teacher qualifications, and access to advanced coursework and career-technical education.  States would also choose three additional indicators that could include: access to paraeducators and specialized instructional support, health and wellness programs, dedicated school library programs and modern materials and facilities, early childhood programs and full-day/five-day-a-week kindergarten, and availability of core academic subjects. This information would also be disaggregated by student subgroup. Under the amendment states would have to develop plans with local school districts to set timelines and benchmarks to address identified gaps and, if after two consecutive years those benchmarks are not met, then allocate resources in a way that does address the gaps.

The underlying bill already contains strong language that ensures equity and opportunity for every student. The current bill requires that States establish a system to identify and meaningfully differentiate schools using a range of indicators; including for the first time at least one measure of student or school supports such as those outlined in the Opportunity Dashboard concept.  Indicators could include access to advanced coursework, school climate and safety, bullying, disciplinary rates, including rates of suspension to name a few. The information must be disaggregated by student subgroups and is intended to help states identify and work to begin closing opportunity gaps

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.

CONTACT: Richard Allen Smith, NEA Communications, 202-716-6461 cell, rasmith@nea.org


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