PAA position on Senate ESEA proposals

PAA has prepared this chart on some of the key elements of the proposed “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015” sponsored by Senate education committee chair Lamar Alexander. This is the Senate’s current version of a reauthorized No Child Left Behind Act, or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We expect them to move on this bill in the next few days, so please share this with your Senators NOW! We have faxed the chart to each member of the Senate education committee.

Here’s downloadable pdf version of the chart.

The House will be considering its ESEA bill, HR 5, the “Student Success Act,” this week – there’s still time to reach out to your Congresswoman or Congressman to share PAA’s many concerns with that bill.

PAA position paper on US Senate proposals for revising ESEA 2/23/15

Senate ESEA proposals

PAA’s position

Freeze funding at “sequester” levels; end “Maintenance of Effort” provision requiring states and districts to fund schools at least at current levels.

Oppose:Schools and teachers in the neediest communities must not be asked to do more with less. We are concerned that there are not enough checks in place to keep ESEA funds from being used as budget balancers rather than the supplemental funds needed to address the effects of poverty and discrimination.

Allow grade span testing.

Support:No Child Left Behind started the current test mania by requiring annual testing – and a revised ESEA can help end it. We support the proposal that ESEA require testing only once at each grade span. We further support an end to high stakes testing and even stronger support for real multiple measures using varied assessments, projects and performances over time.

Expand funding for charter schools using the rhetoric of “parental choice.”

Oppose:The choice of most parents is a high-quality neighborhood school. Charter school quality has been disappointing to say the least – we oppose using scarce education funds to open more charters, enrich charter management companies, and create new bureaucracies to approve charters over the objections of local school boards.

End requirements from RTTT and other programs that specified intervention models and required use of student test scores to evaluate teachers.

Support: Race to the Top’s overly-prescriptive intervention models – including school closure and privatization by firing staff and closing schools, turning them over to charter or other private management — did not prove to be a recipe for school improvement. Requiring the use of student test scores as significant parts of teacher evaluation also went against research and best practices.

Provide Title I fund “portability.”

Oppose: We support the fundamental purpose of Title I – to provide extra resources to schools serving low-income students. Title I “portability” – having funds “follow the child” – may pave the way for voucher programs, which show little evidence of success, or redirect funds away from schools in poor neighborhoods toward more affluent ones.

Remove 95% testing participation requirement.

Support:  PAA also supports a parent’s right to opt their children out of any standardized testing without consequences.

Remove the requirement that teachers be highly qualified, and assurances that students in high-poverty schools have equal access to qualified teachers.

Oppose: Parents care about teacher qualifications, and research shows that, as with dentists or surgeons, teacher preparation and certification matter. Six-week “teacher camps” are not adequate substitutes for real teacher preparation.

PAA is a national network of parents actively supporting public schools.

Please see our full position paper on a new ESEA here: http://tinyurl.com/mel9ceq

Visit us at www.parentsacrossamerica.org

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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