Every Student Succeeds Act

Every Student Succeeds Act opens new chapter for education

The Senate’s 85-12 vote on the Every Student Succeeds Act on Dec. 9 represents a significant course correction acknowledging that more than a decade’s worth of education reforms based on test-and-sanction policies was a failure, AFT President Randi Weingarten says.

“The new law will give us the chance to press the reset button so public schools can be places where teachers want to teach, parents want to send their kids and students are engaged,” she says. “Congress maintained the best of the original intent of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—funding for poor kids—while slamming the door on federally prescribed high-stakes consequences of testing. While the new bill doesn’t solve all problems, it opens the way for districts across America to give teachers the latitude to teach so their kids can reach their God-given potential.

“For years, educators, parents and members of our broader communities were the canaries in the coal mine, crying out that hypertesting was hurting students, demoralizing teachers and frustrating parents. We will continue to be vigilant as work shifts to the states to fix accountability systems and develop teacher evaluation systems that are fair and aimed at improving and supporting good instruction. This new bill promises the creation of better accountability and support systems, and our students, their parents and their educators deserve nothing less.

“The bipartisan leadership and true partnership of Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) were instrumental in getting us to today’s vote.”

[AFT press release]