ESEA on the Move: A February Policy Roundup

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Policy RoundupBelow you will find a synopsis of the hottest topics in education policy from February 2015.

  • The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to consider legislation that will reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and ASCD is asking educators to tell their policymakers to pass a bill that supports the whole child. Use ASCD’s Action Center to tell your representative to ensure that the bill 1) does not allow state test results to be the sole measure of student performance, educator effectiveness, or school quality, and 2) keeps the Title I formula as is. See ASCD’s comments on the House ESEA reauthorization bill (PDF) as well as the Senate’s draft ESEA reauthorization bill (PDF). For ongoing updates about ESEA reauthorization, go to org/esea.
  • The “most important thing is to teach children, not test children,” said Susan Kessler, a Nashville principal who represented ASCD as a panelist during the Senate education committee’s most recent hearing on fixing the No Child Left Behind Act. Read Kessler’s testimony (PDF) where she details her school’s innovative approaches to improve academic outcomes, particularly for low-income and at-risk students, and comments on how to improve federal law to encourage innovation at the state, district, and school levels.
  • ASCD’s statement on testing and accountability urges policymakers to institute a two-year moratorium on using state standardized assessments for high-stakes accountability purposes. During the pause, assessments would continue to be administered and the results communicated to districts, schools, and families, but without the threat of punitive sanctions. Read the full statement. Watch a video of ASCD’s director of public policy, David Griffith, explaining why ASCD is calling for a moratorium.
  • ASCD released its 2015 Legislative Agenda (PDF), which outlines the association’s policy priorities for the year. The 2015 agenda urges Congress and the Obama administration to reauthorize ESEA, establish a multimetric accountability system, reduce the reliance on standardized testing, promote a whole child education, and honor and support the education profession.
  • Now through April 15, educators at all levels can share their perspectives on next-generation accountability systems by participating in the ASCD Forum. Recognizing the need to elevate educators’ voices on this topic, ASCD is providing three ways for educators to weigh in with ideas and give feedback. Educators can get involved by joining the ASCD Forum group on ASCD EDge®, by using #ASCDForum conversation on Twitter, or by attending a face-to face session at the 2015 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show