PAA letter to House Education committee on ESEA

The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on new House proposals to revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Some day we hope that the committee will include real parent voices in their hearings. Until then, we need to keep the letters coming, Here’s what we faxed to the committee members today (feel free to copy, sign, and send to your own congresspeople).

We are working on a more detailed position statement on the House proposals – watch this space!

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February 15, 2012

Re: HR 3989 and HR 3990

Dear Education Committee Member:

As you begin discussion of the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effectiveness Teacher Act, we ask that you give thoughtful consideration to the concerns and priorities of Parents Across America, a national network of active parents, representing the primary stakeholders of the public schools. Because the voices of grass-roots parents have been mostly missing from the Capitol Hill ESEA debate, we also urge you to invite a representative of our group to testify at any hearings called on the topic of ESEA reauthorization.

Our general concerns regarding ESEA include its over-reliance on the current corporate reform agenda of further privatization, school closings, more charter schools, larger classes, and the expansion of high-stakes standardized tests. In fact, the majority of US parents oppose these strategies, which have no significant track record of success. We instead support research-based proposals to improve our schools, including class size reduction, expansion of preK programs, support for a more well-rounded, challenging curriculum, and more parent involvement in decision-making at all levels.

We support the HR 3989 and HR 3990 proposals to:

  • end the use of AYP.
  • maintain disaggregated student data.
  • locate school improvement activities closer to the schools and end mandates for the four ineffective SIG models.

We oppose the proposals that:

  • expand standardized testing by mandating its use as a high-stakes measure for teacher evaluation.
  • fail to adequately support true multiple assessments that use actual student work done over time.
  • cap the funds available to reduce class size.
  • disregard the value of teacher preparation and pre-qualification.
  • shift more public education funds to private interests including expanded charter schools.
  • avoid addressing the critical needs of children brought about by poverty.
	We look forward to making a more detailed presentation of our positions in a hearing.  Meanwhile, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Thank you so much for your time and attention, and for your service to our children. 

Sincerely,

Julie Woestehoff, Parents United for Responsible Education (Chicago)

Co-Founder and Legislative Chair, Parents Across America

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Uncategorized

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