STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. 1177 – Every Child Achieves Act of 2015
(Sen. Alexander, R-TN)
S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act, is an important step forward in the process of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The Administration appreciates the bipartisan effort that produced this legislation and wants to work with the Senate and House on a bipartisan basis to ensure that important changes are made to protect the most vulnerable students. The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress on a bipartisan basis to make these critical changes to S. 1177 before the bill is presented to the President for signature.
The Administration supports the commitment in S. 1177 to holding all students to challenging academic standards, maintaining critical provisions that ensure teachers and parents know how students are performing every year, providing states and school districts with the flexibility needed for schools to improve outcomes for students, and providing additional transparency around resource and opportunity gaps. The Administration appreciates that S. 1177 would allow for critical investments in innovation and what works and excludes harmful provisions that would divert resources away from students, schools, and districts with the greatest economic needs. The Administration applauds the bipartisan commitment in S. 1177 to expand opportunities for America’s children to attend high-quality preschool.
In order to continue ESEA’s legacy of equity and opportunity for every child in America, the Administration strongly urges revisions during Senate consideration of S. 1177 that would strengthen school accountability to close troubling achievement and opportunity gaps, including by requiring interventions and supports in the lowest-performing five percent of schools, in other schools where subgroups of students are not achieving, and in high schools where too many students do not graduate. Parents, families, and communities deserve to know that when children fall behind, their schools will take action to improve. Changes also are needed to S. 1177 to ensure that the Department of Education has the authority to implement the ESEA so that it works as intended to protect at-risk students and to provide accountability for taxpayer funds.
The Administration also urges changes during Senate consideration of S. 1177 that would cap the amount of time spent annually on standardized testing and that would require parental notification when testing is consuming too much classroom learning time. S. 1177 should also be improved to better support America’s teachers and principals and to deliver the resources and resource equity needed to strengthen our Nation’s schools, including by requiring states to develop plans to address resource inequities and closing the longstanding “comparability” loophole to provide needed resources to vulnerable students in Title I schools.
The Administration remains committed to working with the Congress on a bipartisan approach to replace NCLB with a law that expands opportunity for all of America’s children.
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