Today, the US Senate passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—in an 85-12 vote. The legislation, which was passed by the US House of Representatives last week, now awaits signature by the President.
Greg Richmond, president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), issued the following statement:
“This is a momentous achievement for our country’s educational policy that demonstrates our national leaders are committed to ensuring all American children—including the nearly 3 million attending charter schools—have the opportunity to attend a great school.
“With hundreds of thousands of students dropping out of high school each year, the need for more quality schools throughout our country is clear. It is our obligation to serve these children by opening and expanding only the best schools and by making the tough decisions to close those that consistently fail to live up to their promises.
“We are especially pleased to see bipartisan support of smart charter school growth, backed by commonsense provisions designed to emphasize quality and accountability in states across the country.
“The bill maintains annual testing requirements and strengthens the Public Charter School Program with significant provisions that raise standards and strengthen accountability for quality charter school authorizing. Importantly, ESSA also maintains annual testing requirements, without the inclusion of mandatory opt-out provisions, to ensure we have meaningful information about the quality of our public schools.
“We recognize the tenacious leadership of Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., alongside U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the myriad advocacy groups who forged and built broad bipartisan support for this important evolution of ESEA.
“We encourage the President to sign this legislation swiftly, in the best interest of students, families, teachers, and schools across the nation.
“Once signed into law, we are committed to working with the US Department of Education, states, authorizers, and the charter school community to ensure these provisions are faithfully implemented to ensure every charter school is a high-quality choice for students and families across the country.”
The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) is an independent voice for effective charter school policy and thoughtful charter authorizing practices that lead to more great public schools. Our research, policy, and consultation work advances excellence and accountability in the charter school sector. With authorizers and other partners, we have built the gold standard for charter school authorizing. Through smart charter school growth, these authorizers will give hundreds of thousands of children an opportunity for a better education each year. More at www.qualitycharters.org