Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Read NPE's Full Statement on NCLB Reauthorization Draft

The Network for Public Education

Dear Robert D.,
Yesterday was the deadline for public comment on the NCLB reauthorization draft bill Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released on January 13, 2015, leaving only 20 days for public comment. 
In that short time, NPE developed a letter writing campaign to ask the HELP Committee to #EndAnnualTesting as part of their reauthorization efforts. Over 2,300 of our allies answered our call, and sent letters to Congress. 
We thank you for taking action!
The NPE Board of Directors also drafted and sent a statement to the HELP Committee, offering their comments on the full draft.


The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was passed in 1965 specifically to send federal aid to poor students. This law contained no reference to testing. Over the years, programs such as Title II and aid for homeless students have been added, again to support low-income students.
NCLB distorted the purpose of ESEA by creating federal mandates for
testing that affected every public school. These mandates are depleting resources and have a negative impact on the very students and schools ESEA was designed to help.
The current draft of the "Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015" offers a choice between annual testing and grade span testing, and given that choice, we prefer the latter.
But our strong view as an organization is that ESEA should be restored to
its original intent: to send federal aid to schools and districts that have
large numbers of children who live in poverty. There should be no federal
mandates for annual testing of every student. This is a state function, not a federal function.
In addition, the authorization levels in this draft bill are inadequate to ensure that disadvantaged students are provided an education that provides them with an equitable chance to learn.  

Statement Summary

  • We support option 1 to eliminate mandated annual testing, and we urge the Senate to remove high stakes attached to standardized tests, encourage flexibility in designing assessments, and provide the right of parents to opt their children out of standardized testing.
  • Restore reducing class size as option that states and districts can use with their Title II funds, which is a research-based reform that also works to lower teacher attrition.
  • Eliminate the use of federal funds for merit pay, which has consistently failed to improve student outcomes.
  • Add to the reporting requirements of districts, states and the federal government so they must report trends in average class size data, as well as the disparity in class size between high and low poverty schools.
  • Strengthen the language around student data privacy and limit federally mandated data collection of individual students.
  • Oppose the diversion of resources to private and charter sc hools through portability of Title I funds and expansion of federal funding to charters.
  • Require maintenance of effort, so that states and districts cannot cut back on their own support for schools while replacing their funding with federal dollars.
  • We strongly urge the Senate to increase overall funding for Title I, Title II, and Title X for homeless students, especially as more than 50% of the children in our public schools are now officially classified as low income for the first time in at least fifty years.
NPE will continue to follow the NCLB reauthorization process, and we will send regular updates via newsletters and on our website, as well as on social media. 
If you don't already follow us on Facebook or Twitter, please take a moment to do so now.



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