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Letter to ESEA Conference Committee Members

November 18, 2015

Dear Member of Congress:

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association and the students they serve, we applaud members for beginning the conference process and we are heartened by the bipartisan, bicameral framework to start these conversations. It is our hope that this conference committee will continue shepherding this process toward a House and Senate floor vote that will result in a bill that provides more opportunity and time to learn for all students.

The deeply flawed No Child left Behind (NCLB) Act, in place for nearly 14 years now, delivers unequal opportunities and uneven quality to America’s children based, too often, on where they live. Students should not have to wait any longer for this badly broken law to be fixed.

We believe Congress must commit to the success of every student, regardless of zip code, and focus on three core goals in the next ESEA:

•        Closing opportunity gaps for students by creating a new accountability system that includes an opportunity “dashboard.” 
•        Giving students more time to learn by addressing over-testing, decoupling statewide tests and high-stakes decision making, and giving states and school districts flexibility to determine which tests best inform instruction and help students learn.
•        Ensuring that educators’ voices are part of the decision making process at all levels: federal, state and local.

We look forward to working with members of the committee to craft a final bill that returns control of our nation’s education back to where it belongs - in the hands of local educators, parents and communities - while keeping the focus on students most in need.

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations