The bill, now called the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” passed with bipartisan support. According to Carl Korn, spokesperson for New York State United Teachers, it eliminates the federal requirement that states link standardized test scores and teacher evaluations.
“It allows states much greater flexibility to determine what their teacher-evaluation systems look like and their accountability systems look like,” says Korn.
The bill also continues the federal investment in early-childhood education, strengthens collective bargaining protections and creates a fairer system for measuring progress by English-language learners.
Korn says while it is a significant improvement over the past decade of federal-education policy, it still requires standardized testing every year in third through eighth grades.
“Parents are concerned about the over-reliance on standardized testing, the amount of time that is spent on testing, and how those test results are used,” Korn says.
The earliest versions of No Child Left Behind only required tests in fourth and eighth grade.
The bill does maintain the federal commitment to equitable funding, which was a major part of No Child Left Behind. But Korn points out New York State still owes schools more that $4 billion from its 2006 settlement of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit.
“And even today, roughly a third of the state’s classrooms have less state funding than they did five years ago,” says Korn.
The teachers’ union says it is “cautiously optimistic” the Every Students Succeeds Act will pass in the Senate and President Obama has said, if it reaches his desk, he will sign it into law.
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