Yesterday, a U.S. Senate and House of Representatives conference committee released the final text of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The bipartisan legislation would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind (ESEA/NCLB), the primary law governing the federal role in K-12 education. The bill will now be considered by all members of the House and Senate.

“For years, families nationwide have been advocating for the reauthorization of ESEA/NCLB and improvements to the law that prioritize family engagement, provide educational equity for all children and prepare every child for long-term success,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “A comprehensive reauthorization of ESEA/NCLB has not been this close to being signed into law since 2002. National PTA is extremely pleased that this process has reached this critical point and applauds the bipartisan and bicameral work of Congress.”

The Every Student Succeeds Act contains several laudable family engagement provisions, including a Statewide Family Engagement Centers program that would provide states and districts with the capacity to support effective implementation and enhancement of family engagement policies and initiatives. The bill also includes improvements to Title I that would require districts to conduct family engagement activities that are proven to make a difference for students and schools.

Additionally, the bill contains provisions that would:

  • Establish state-designed accountability systems that allow for multiple measures of student achievement
  • Increase access to STEM education and the arts for all students, ensuring they receive a well-rounded education
  • Authorize funds for activities to improve school climate, school safety and address bullying and harassment

The bill does not include a voucher program or any public or private school portability.

“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,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “While we have reached a critical point, it is essential that Congress get the bill to the president’s desk before the end of the year to provide certainty for families, educators and schools.”

Contact Senators Durbin and Kirk and your representative to urge them to support the Every Student Succeeds Act and join the Illinois PTA Take Action Network to keep up with legislative issues in Washington, DC and Illinois.