On July 7, the Senate will begin to consider and move to a vote on a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to replace the No Child Left Behind Act.
Over the past few months, PAA has been reviewing both the House and Senate proposals as they evolve. Our analysis of the House version, HR 5, the “Student Success Act,” is here; HR 5 passed out of the House education committee last February and is waiting for House action. The House seems to be waiting to see what the Senate does before finalizing their bill.
True parent empowerment
- PAA supports inclusion of parents in school policy decisions at the school, district, state, and national level.
- We oppose forms of school privatization such as charter schools (Title V beginning p. 460 and S 316), vouchers, or “portability” that take resources from the schools attended by most students and put them into private hands, with less oversight.
Limits on testing
- PAA supports S. 1025 (the Tester amendment) which replaces federal annual testing mandates with grade span testing. This will help address the current misuse and overuse of tests which is due in large part to NCLB’s testing mandates.
- We support Isakson Title 1 #1 amendment specifying parents’ right to opt their children out of any state standardized test.
- We also support the SMART Act proposal (Baldwin Title 1 Amendment #1) to encourage states to control the number of state-mandated tests and provide better-quality assessment information to parents.
- PAA opposes any proposals that would fund programs that put unprepared teachers in classrooms, which happens most often in schools with the most challenges.
- We also oppose increasing funds to expand adaptive technology and on-line learning, recognizing that the teacher/student relationship is paramount to supporting quality learning.
- PAA supports an increase in Title 1 funding targeted to low-income children and more equitable school funding from the appropriate government sources (as in Baldwin Title 1 Amendment #5).
- We support increased funding for systematic and effective class size reduction programs.
- PAA supports parents’ right to keep their children’s school data private (the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act), although we support the recommendations of the Parents’ Coalition for Student Privacy to strengthen that bill.