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Widespread Support for Every Student Succeeds Act

“Enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act is critical for our nation’s students,”

“Reflects a spirit of compromise,” A victory for kids and parents”

(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), bipartisan legislation from Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to fix the broken No Child Left Behind law. Since the final proposal was released on Monday, the legislation has received widespread support from advocates. 

Read Murray’s statement on House passage of ESSA here and see below for some examples of the widespread support from groups across the nation.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: “Throughout the year, the civil rights community has fought to make sure that the long-overdue reauthorization of this law would ensure that vulnerable children get the education they’re entitled to. As a result of our diverse communities working together with a common goal, we’ve seen significant improvement in this legislation since January. We are grateful for the hard work of congressional champions and their staff. And in all of our diversity, we speak both as a coalition and as individual organizations highlighting individual priorities and areas of focus. We believe the Every Student Succeeds Act is an improvement over the waivers and is a chance to move beyond the No Child Left Behind Act for the millions of students of color, students with disabilities, and English learner students we represent.” LINK

NAACP Legal Defense Fund: “We appreciate the political climate that has produced the compromises reflected in the Every Student Succeeds Act. We extend appreciation to the leadership and staff of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and the House Education and the Workforce Committee, particularly Ranking Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-3). While we have concerns about several provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act, we recognize the need to promote certainty for students and schools by updating No Child Left Behind, the prior iteration of ESEA that was universally viewed as inadequate to promote quality education for our children. We believe that the Every Student Succeeds Act represents an improvement over the waiver system currently in place to address the deficiencies of No Child Left Behind.” LINK

The Education Trust: “…the law contains critical protections for these same student groups and clear levers for equity-minded leaders and advocates to move the ball forward, rather than back. For example, school accountability systems must rate schools on the performance of every group of students that they serve — something that is not currently happening in most states under ESEA waivers. We at The Education Trust stand ready to do our part to help make sure state and local leaders and advocates take advantage of those levers and truly prioritize accelerating the achievement of the low-income children and children of color who are the law’s very purpose for being. We’re grateful for the tireless work of our coalition partners, and to the bipartisan, bicameral collaboration of Chairman Lamar Alexander, Ranking Member Patty Murray, Chairman John Kline, and Ranking Member Bobby Scott and their staffs for getting us to this point.” LINK

National Council of La Raza:On behalf of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), thank you for your collective leadership in moving forward the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This ESEA rewrite reflects a spirit of compromise yet contains a number of provisions that will be beneficial to Latino and English learner students. For this reason, despite the legislation’s imperfections, NCLR supports this ESEA reauthorization. These measures stand to lift the academic success and achievement of the 13 million Latino children enrolled in U.S. schools.”

National Governors Association: “The endorsement is a unique move—one not taken in nearly 20 years—and demonstrates governors’ strong bipartisan support for the legislation. Governors have long advocated for a clear bipartisan law that restores balance to the state-federal education relationship.” LINK

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth: “We write to express our strongest support for the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, ESSA, and to urge its final passage…ESSA significantly strengthens and improves the education of homeless children and youth. It incorporates best practices from states and school districts across the country to increase the identification, enrollment, stability, and school success of children and youth experiencing homelessness.”

National Urban League: “We are pleased that this bill maintains the right of every student to a high quality education that is measured against college- and career-ready standards and that families will receive greater transparency about their children’s progress, as well as information about the state of their children’s schools every year. The bill also requires interventions when subgroups of students left behind and creates a statutory obligation to address resource inequities at the state, local and school levels. Finally, this reauthorization provides funding to increase access to quality early childhood education and better science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities. In serving the new majority of students in our nation’s public schools, these critical tools and supports are necessary.”  LINK

Equity in Education Coalition: “Monday’s reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, co-sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, is a milestone for education advocates across the county. More importantly, it’s a victory for kids and parents. By ending the era of No Child Left Behind, Monday’s vote will close a period of one-size fits all teaching and testing that created unfair hurdles for low-income students and students of color in Washington State. As Washington State’s largest coalition of stakeholders from communities of color working together to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for children of color, the Equity in Education Coalition supports the current plan to roll back No Child Left Behind.”

Association of University Centers on Disabilities: “The newly proposed Every Student Succeeds Act continues to include students with disabilities in state accountability systems and ensures students with disabilities will continue to have access to the general curriculum.” LINK

Third Way: “In a time when compromise is rare, we commend Chairmen Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Members Patty Murray (D-WA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) for their leadership updating this indispensable law. This compromise throws some much-needed water on the political firestorm around testing that has erupted and gives communities a bigger say in how they address schools that aren’t serving their students. And it would do so while keeping in place crucial federal guardrails to ensure states do not shirk their responsibilities, as some have under past versions of this law.”  LINK

Alliance for Excellent Education: “The Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance) is pleased to endorse the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act places an important emphasis on the nation’s lowest-performing high schools. In doing so, ESSA will support the work of educators across America to continue increasing the nation’s high school graduation rate and ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce.”

First Five Years Fund: “The First Five Years Fund strongly supports the ESSA, and we encourage the Senate and House to approve the measure before Congress adjourns later this year. The ESSA’s Preschool Development Grants program will provide invaluable support to states, communities, and programs working to prepare low-income children for Kindergarten and their later development and learning. The program’s comprehensive needs assessment and focus on promoting close collaboration within communities, including leveraging existing State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care, will ensure existing federal, state, and local resources are used effectively to promote quality and parental choice.” LINK

National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities: “NACDD urges Congress to complete the reauthorization, now known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA represents a compromise on many years of work to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, last reauthorized in 2001 as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). NCLB for the first time required the academic progress of students with disabilities to be considered. The reauthorization contains numerous important provisions for students with disabilities.” LINK

Center for American Progress: “The Every Student Succeeds Act strikes a balance between accountability for serving all students and closing achievement gaps with flexibility to allow state and local actors to meet local needs. The ESSA preserves annual assessments and the use of disaggregated data to ensure that at-risk students are not falling behind, but it also allows states and districts to take a more holistic approach to measuring progress by using additional measures of school and student success—beyond test scores. Importantly, the legislation requires action in the lowest-performing schools and where subgroups of students are struggling. The bill authorizes important investments in early childhood education, teachers, and innovation.”  LINK

STEM Education Coalition: “We are encouraged that the Every Student Succeeds Act retains math and science testing, creates a STEM Master Teacher Corps, will provide much needed professional development training to STEM educators, and would allow greater access for thousands of school districts to federal funding to support STEM programs and activities, including partnerships with nonprofits.” LINK

National Center for Technological Literacy: “We are most pleased by the consistent application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), including computer science, throughout, and by the fact that states are encouraged to update their science assessments to include engineering design skills and practices. Further, we are pleased that the conference agreement contains several positive provisions in support of STEM and computer science education”

National Science Teachers Association: “The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) encourages the House and Senate to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act. This bill is a vital and important step in addressing some of the serious challenges facing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education today in the U.S.”

National Education Association: “In particular, the bill includes student and school supports in state accountability plans to create an opportunity ‘dashboard’; reduces the amount of standardized testing in schools and decouples high-stakes decision making and statewide standardized tests; and ensures that educators’ voices are part of decision making at the federal, state and local levels.” LINK

National Parent Teacher Association: “The Every Student Succeeds Act is an improvement over current law. National PTA commends Congress for providing greater flexibility to states and districts to meet the needs of all students and acknowledging the essential role of family engagement to student achievement and meaningful school improvement efforts.” LINK

American Federation of Teachers: “Maybe most importantly, the new law could bring back the joy of teaching and learning. Teachers would have flexibility to try new ways to teach, to meet the needs of their students, and to help their students think critically and analytically instead of focusing on what might be on a high-stakes test.” LINK

Teach for America: “We commend the bipartisan process that led to this point, under the leadership of Senator Alexander and Senator Murray, Congressman Kline and Congressman Scott. Our nation’s children and their families deserve an ESEA law that ensures high standards for all, and enables high-quality teaching from early learning to ensuring college readiness. We support this bill and believe it will foster further progress toward ensuring excellent schools for all children, everywhere, and we call on states and local school districts to continue the work that needs to be done to ensure that race, national origin or income does not limit a child’s opportunity to succeed.” LINK

National Center for Learning Disabilities:On behalf of the 1 in 5 children with learning and attention issues and their families, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) recognizes the historic vote Congress is preparing to cast to replace the No Child Left Behind Act. We urge its swift passage. This new legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act, represents a compromise and gives States and school districts an opportunity to tailor their educational systems to meet the needs of their students, including those with disabilities. With this opportunity comes significant responsibility to close achievement gaps and improve outcomes.”

Easter Seals: “As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, I am grateful for the progress that has been made in increasing meaningful educational opportunities for all children with disabilities. The Every Student Succeeds Act continues this tradition of increasing meaningful educational opportunities for all students. While we support this bill, we recognize fully that this legislation is a compromise and is not the bill we would have written. However, it updates current law and is an improvement to the current waiver system.”

National Disability Rights Network: “While we understand that this bill represents a hard won compromise, NDRN is pleased the bill maintains the civil rights underpinnings of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and will serve to ensure inclusion of students with disabilities in both the general curriculum and in annual statewide assessments system in a meaningful fashion.”

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities: “CCD thanks you again for your leadership and commitment to assuring federal law continues to provide meaningful access to rigorous standards for all students and fully includes students with disabilities in state assessment and accountability systems. CCD urges the Senate to approve this bill and looks forward to helping states to successfully implement the law.”

Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates: “We believe the ESSA provisions focused on students with the most significant cognitive disabilities will help every student with a disability to be held to high expectations and have access to the general curriculum so that they may learn and thrive in school and become career and/or college ready.”

The School Superintendents Association:  ESSA is a significant improvement over current law. Congress demonstrated its commitment to seeing ESEA reauthorization to completion. This legislation builds on 8 years of momentum, and carries forward the very strong bipartisan sentiment of more recent efforts.” LINK

American Federation of School Administrators, National Association of Elementary School Principals, and National Association of Secondary School Principals: “We are also pleased to offer our support for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and urge Members of Congress to pass this important legislation. Enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act is critical for our nation’s students.”

National Association of Federally Impacted Schools: “NAFIS strongly supports the Impact Aid policy changes included in ESSA. The NAFIS membership, legislators, and their staff should be commended for their tireless efforts to bring these important changes to fruition that will strengthen the Impact Aid program for all federally impacted school districts.” LINK

Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO):This final bill reflects the key priorities state education leaders set forth in January, and we are eager for this important federal law to be reauthorized by the end of the year." LINK

Autism Speaks: “Autism Speaks supports the House-Senate conference committee on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The conference committee report builds on the legacy of high expectations for all students and holds schools accountable for the performance of students with disabilities to ensure their access to general education curriculum.”

Business Civil Rights Coalition: “Thanks to bipartisan leadership in both Chambers, the Every Student Succeeds Act reflects these principles. The bill is far from perfect, but it is a product of compromise that includes this coalition’s key priorities. We support its enactment into law.” LINK

Chamber of Commerce: “Passage of this conference report would be one of the major accomplishments of this Congress, and the Chamber applauds the hard work of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline and Ranking Member Bobby Scott, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray, and their dedicated staff. Once this bill is signed into law, there will be much work to be done at the state and local level to ensure that state education systems remain accountable for the academic achievement of all students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

National Military Family Association: “One of our highest priorities is ensuring military-connected children receive the best possible education. For this reason, we are gratified to see provisions supporting military children and families included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In particular, we appreciate the establishment of a national military-connected student identifier that will measure educational outcomes of military children. We also thank you for including improvements to Impact Aid that will ensure schools serving military-connected children receive adequate funding.”

American Association of University Women: “We are grateful for the hard work of congressional champions and their staff. And in all of our diversity, we speak both as a coalition and as individual organizations highlighting individual priorities and areas of focus. We believe the Every Student Succeeds Act is an improvement over the waivers and is a chance to move beyond the No Child Left Behind Act for the millions of students of color, students with disabilities, and English learner students we represent.”

National School Boards Association: "The National School Boards Association (NSBA)…applauds the work of the Conference Committee for its bipartisan effort to modernize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Chairman John Kline and Senior Democratic Member Bobby Scott have led the process in the House to develop legislation that will positively affect the educational outcomes of our nation’s 50 million public school students, the performance of our more than 13,000 public school districts, and the success of both our communities and our nation.” LINK

United Way Worldwide: “Throughout this process, United Way Worldwide and local United Ways have advocated for a reauthorization bill that includes policies and programs to protect and support disadvantaged students, while also allowing flexibility for locally tailored solutions that engage families and community-based organizations. We believe this bipartisan compromise achieves these goals. We are especially pleased that the legislation includes a focus on low-performing schools, wraparound programs, family engagement provisions, as well as nods to literacy and early learning.”

American Library Association: “We are encouraged by your efforts to complete reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and are optimistic that improvements contained under S. 1177 that include effective school library programs will help ensure that all students graduating from America’s schools will be adequatley prepared for college and success in the workforce.”

Interstate Migrant Education Council: “The Interstate Migrant Education Council (IMEC) appreciates the work that went into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and call on Congress to pass this legislation this year. We are encouraged in that the ESSA focuses on the unique needs of our nation’s migrant students while not denying migrant students access to other federal programs.”

Magnet Schools of America: "We are very pleased that Congress has acknowledged the value and need to expand magnet schools in our public education system. The continuation of this crucial support will help countless school districts create new innovative theme-based magnet programs that will prepare our students to live in diverse communities and flourish in an increasingly competitive workforce.” LINK

PACER Center: “Thank you for your leadership in guiding conference negotiations to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We are pleased to see that you have maintained language found in Titles III and IV, in the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) and the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) respectively, that reauthorizes the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program as well as language in Title I which maintains the “1% regulation” pertaining to assessments of students with significant cognitive disabilities with additional state oversight.”

Chiefs for Change: “Years overdue, the successful reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will provide the stability and flexibility that states, districts, and schools need to best serve all of their students.”

Grantmakers in the Arts: “…thank you for your ongoing efforts to successfully reauthorize this critical piece of legislation. Grantmakers in the Arts believes the proposed legislation accomplishes several important goals that will generate positive change for students and school leaders across the country.”

ACT: “ACT applauds the work of conferees to reach a compromise that renews federal aid to elementary and secondary education through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ACT supports final enactment of the conference agreement.”

Knowledge Alliance: “Knowledge Alliance is writing to support S.1177, the “Every Student Succeeds Act.” As a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on improving education by advocating for the widespread, effective use of research-based knowledge in policy and practice, we believe this legislation includes several provisions that will encourage the use of evidence by states and districts, as well as drive new innovations in the field, that will lead to improvements in teaching and learning.”

Council of Great City Schools: “…the Council recognizes that the pending Every Student Succeeds Act represents the most practical opportunity for Congress to replace the NCLB Act, and we recommend favorable action in both House and Senate.”

National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools: “We want to ensure that the 2.5 million K-12 students attending public charter schools nationwide – including the more than 250,000 students eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are fully supported. Today, NCSECS writes to support passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).”

Afterschool Alliance: “We applaud and thank Congress for maintaining 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) as an independent program in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was made public today. ESSA is compromise legislation that will reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Preserving this dedicated funding stream means millions of students and families will benefit from the quality afterschool and summer learning programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. This is a huge and much-needed win for America’s children and families.” LINK

Business Roundtable: “We applaud all of the hard work that Senator Alexander, Senator Murray, Representative Kline and Representative Scott and their staffs have done to ensure the final bill benefits our nation’s students and helps them graduate from high school ready for the future.” LINK

List of Supporting Groups: