Our Take on ESEA

On Tuesday, we joined 36 other civil rights and education policy organizations in supporting the Every Student Succeeds Act, the long-overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which passed in the House yesterday and is moving to the Senate floor. We’re proud to have worked with this coalition for the past year to ensure the bill includes protections giving more students—especially more poor and minority students—a better chance at the education they deserve.

As you’d expect with any piece of compromise legislation, there are some aspects of this bill we’re not happy about. But we’ve seen some positive changes as a result of the coalition’s advocacy, and on the whole, it’s a bill we can support (especially considering the alternatives if it doesn’t pass). If it becomes law, we’ll be keeping a close watch on whether state and local education leaders really deliver on the new responsibilities around school accountability the bill gives them.

The following is our coalition’s collective statement, originally published here.  

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act is our nation’s most important civil rights law for promoting educational achievement and protecting the rights and interests of students disadvantaged by discrimination, poverty, and other conditions that may limit their educational opportunity.

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. However, the compromise that has resulted in the Every Student Succeeds Act is not the bill that we would have written.

There are provisions in the proposed legislation that we believe will help remedy deep-seated disparities in our nation’s schools. For example, with collaboration from the Department of Education and policymakers at the state and local level, we believe this law can fulfill its purpose as stated in Title I, to “provide all children a significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education and to close educational achievement gaps.”

The process of implementing this law will not be legitimate without the inclusion of communities we represent in all federal, state, tribal, and local decisions. State and local control has too often been an obstruction to narrowing disparities, and we will not let jurisdictions with millions of dollars in federal aid off the hook for failing to equitably and adequately educate all children. This bill’s passage is a call to action for parents and stakeholders in every school district and every state to hold decision makers and administrators accountable for educating all students, and to demand a seat at the table as this law is implemented in their communities.

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

About TNTP

TNTP is the nation’s leading research, policy, and consulting organization dedicated to transforming America’s public education system, so that every generation thrives.

Today, we work side-by-side with educators, system leaders, and communities across 39 states and over 6,000 districts nationwide to reach ambitious goals for student success.

Yet the possibilities we imagine push far beyond the walls of school and the education field alone. We are catalyzing a movement across sectors to create multiple pathways for young people to achieve academic, economic, and social mobility.

Learn More About TNTP