by Brian Washington
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Your activism around the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is currently being debated on Capitol Hill, is paying off in big ways. Because of your calls, emails, and letters to lawmakers—students, parents, educators, and public schools are winning!
As Education Votes has reported before, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA) represents lawmakers’ best opportunity to redo ESEA and get it right. The legislation, which has bipartisan support, is currently on the floor of the U.S. Senate where lawmakers are debating the merits of the bill and considering possible amendments.
On Wednesday, those who support public education and the students who attend our public schools scored a big victory. Yesterday, senators managed to beat-back a voucher amendment that would have allowed taxpayer dollars, public funds, to be used for tuition at private schools.
The voucher amendment was offered up by Senator Lamar Alexander (TN). However, Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte (NH), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Susan Collins (ME), Deb Fischer (NE), Dean Heller (NV), Mark Kirk (IL), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Jerry Moran (KS) deserve a big pat on the back for crossing party lines and joining with Democrats to defeat this awful amendment.
Important work ahead
Debate on ECAA is expected to continue next week, when lawmakers will more than likely take up an amendment which represents one of the core principles for the more than 3-million active and retired educators and student-educators who make up the National Education Association (NEA).
It’s called the “Opportunity Dashboard” amendment. In addition to Senator Kirk, who we mentioned earlier, other sponsors of this amendment include Senators Jack Reed (RI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Sherrod Brown (OH).
ECAA already contains multiple measures to gauge student achievement as well as an indicator of a student’s or school’s success. However, the dashboard amendment would go even further. The dashboard amendment would create a series of quality indicators educators can use to support learning and expose opportunity gaps. Educators know these indicators are necessary to meet the original goals of ESEA and help states and local school districts identify and begin to close opportunity and resource gaps. The Opportunity Dashboard is needed to ensure that all students have access to a well-rounded education no matter where they live.
Take Action Now!
We need your voice, your power, to stand up for students and get lawmakers to support the Opportunity Dashboard amendment. Senators are going to take it up next week—which is why we need you to contact them right now. ECAA currently has momentum and is headed in the right direction…and we want to keep it that way!