California Educator

March 2015

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It's time to get No Child Left Behind right! T H E R E W A S A F L U R R Y of activity around the reauthoriza- tion of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), otherwise known as No Child Left Behind, including a "Twitter Storm." Thanks to CTA members' tenacious calls and messages to members of Congress, we were on our way to having a law that is acceptable and ben- eficial to all students, until House GOP leaders abruptly canceled a scheduled vote on the bill. It was uncertain whether the bill would pass, given conservative concerns about the federal role in education, and the chaos surrounding funding the Department of Homeland Security took precedence. At press time, the wrangling was continuing. We need the final reauthorization of ESEA to promote opportunity, equity and excellence for all students. "It's time to return ESEA to a system of support where students and teachers can focus on learning over testing," says CTA President Dean E. Vogel. "What happens in the next few weeks may determine what kind of education we are able to deliver to our students for the next decade." What does getting ESEA right mean? A final bill must reflect NEA members' de- mand for more opportunity for all students, as well as provide more time and support for students to learn and teachers to teach. Specifically, we want: • Key indicators to identify and close opportunity and resource gaps, to ensure all students have access to a well-rounded education. • Less testing, so students have more time to learn. • More flexibility for states and school dis- tricts to determine an assessment system that provides the most useful information to help students. • A decoupling of high-stakes testing and accountability. • A final bill that empowers educators with a greater voice in educational and instruc- tional decisions. ESEA — the cornerstone of the federal presence in K-12 education — is designed to support programs to level the playing field for the most vulnerable, including children of poverty, students with disabilities, and English learners. CTA and NEA are urging Congress to listen to the voices of educators when it comes to making sure No Child Left Behind lives up to its promise to close achievement and opportunity gaps for our students. Vogel says, "We must engage in this fight, not only to change a failed policy, but to strengthen our association's capacity to act as one united, strong organization of dedicated professionals." He encourages members to visit to send an email to Congress or find more information. Education policy Advocacy 34

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