This message is on behalf of Georgia PTA Federal Legislative Specialist, Angela Hupert:
I want to share a very important federal legislative update from National PTA regarding the ESEA/NCLB. No doubt, many of you have been following the recent developments. We have received the following detailed message from National PTA:
On April 16, 2015, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee unanimously passed the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 by a vote of 22-0. The bill’s passage by the committee is the first step in the process to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind (ESEA/NCLB), the primary law governing the federal role in education. The legislation now moves to the Senate floor. We are hearing that it could be mid May or June. You can read the Committee’s press release here. Here is National PTA’s blog post on the committee passage of the Act.
“While National PTA believes the passage of the Every Child Achieves Act by the Senate HELP Committee is a step in the right direction for the long awaited reauthorization of the ESEA/NCLB, the association is disappointed that improvements were not made to the bill during the markup process that prioritize family engagement and recognize the important role families play in their children’s academic learning and growth,” said Otha E. Thornton, Jr., President of the National PTA. “National PTA remains committed to working with the Senate to strengthen the bill and advocate for resources to be targeted for state capacity building as well as for an increase in the funds available for local school districts to implement family engagement strategies that are proven to make a difference for students and schools.”
Although National PTA continues to be concerned about the lack of family engagement provisions, the association praises a number of amendments that passed during the markup process, including:
- An amendment that would create a grant program for states to improve and expand access to early learning programs; and
- An amendment that would enable states and school districts to conduct audits of their testing systems to reduce low-quality, misaligned and redundant tests.
National PTA is also pleased to see that the bill would not permit Title I dollars to follow a student to another public school. The association opposes Title I portability and believes that it is in direct conflict with the original intent of Title I, which is to provide assistance to schools with high percentages of children from low-income families.
Reauthorization of the ESEA/NCLB has long been a key public policy priority of National PTA. The association will continue to advocate for improvements to the law that prioritize family engagement and ensure every child has the resources he/she needs to reach his/her full potential.