Tomorrow, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will come before the US Senate for a floor vote. The current legislative proposal, which is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), has strong bi-partisan support passed out of the House of Representatives on a vote of 359-64 on December 2, 2015.
In anticipation of a vote, Greg Richmond, president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) issued the following statement:
“The bipartisan, common sense charter provisions contained within the ESSA demonstrate that members of Congress are committed to ensuring all American children—including the nearly 3 million children 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.
“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. In choosing these common sense provisions, both the Senate and the House have embraced a vision of smart charter school growth. Importantly, ESSA also maintains annual testing requirements, without the inclusion of mandatory optout provisions, to ensure we have meaningful information about the quality of our public schools.
“We recognize Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), , Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and others for their leadership in promoting these bipartisan provisions and ensuring they were included over many years of debate.
“We are looking forward to working with both parties during conference to ensure these important provisions continue to improve the lives of children 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.