NEWS RELEASE: U.S. Senate ushers in new era in public education with historic vote


From the Missouri National Education Association
1810 E. Elm St., Jefferson City, MO 65101

For further information: 
Mark Jones
(573) 644-9609 

Dec. 9, 2015

Missouri National Education Association welcomes bill to create greater opportunity for every student to succeed.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO—The U.S. Senate today approved S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan and bicameral bill to reauthorize the federal education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Pres. Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as this week.

“All students, regardless of their zip code, deserve the support, tools and time to learn,” said MNEA Pres. Charles E. Smith. “The Every Student Succeeds Act is a victory for students and educators. The legislation moves us away from the over use of standardized tests and prioritizes opportunity for all students.”

Students and educators have lived with the unintended consequences of the failed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for more than 14 years. Missouri National Education Association (MNEA) members have waged an unprecedented mobilization and advocacy campaign on behalf of the Missouri’s students in an effort to turn the page on the failed NCLB law and to bring in a new federal education law that provides more opportunity for all students.

“Educators will have a seat at the table when it comes to making decisions that affect their students and classrooms,” MNEA President Charles E. Smith. “This legislation begins to close the opportunity gaps for students by providing a new system that includes an ‘opportunity dashboard’ with indicators of school success and student support. Not only does it reduce the amount of standardized testing in schools, but it decouples high-stakes decisions and statewide testing so students have more time to develop critical thinking while educators do what they love — inspire a lifelong love of learning.”

For Missouri National Education Association members, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. The extraordinary effort to get Congress to rewrite NCLB resulted in an unprecedented bipartisan and bicameral compromise and eventual bill language in late November. The bill sailed through the U.S. House with a vote of 359 in favor to 64 against.

Leading up to ESSA’s passage, educators mobilized in Missouri and across the nation, using face-to-face meetings with lawmakers, phone calls, petitions, emails and social media to urge Congress to bring the joy of teaching and learning back to the classroom and help close opportunity and resource gaps so that all students have access to a well-rounded education. Educators nationwide made nearly a half million individual contacts to members of Congress. In Missouri, MNEA Pres. Charles E. Smith met with U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, NEA Directors Phil Murray (Poplar Bluff) and Lisa Kickbusch (Pattonville) met with Missouri’s entire Congressional delegation. Missouri NEA also engaged educators across the state sending 3,400 emails and making thousands of phone calls urging passage of ESSA.

“Today, the U.S. Senate took a bold and historic step to usher in a new era in public education,” said NEA Pres. Lily Eskelsen García. “This is a deserved victory for public education because the Every Student Succeeds Act will ensure all students have equal opportunity to a high-quality public education regardless of ZIP Code.” 

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García was standing with the president has he signed this historic bill into law Dec. 10, 2015.

The 35,000-member Missouri National Education Association represents teachers, education support professionals, college faculty, retired teachers and students studying to be teachers in school districts and on college campuses throughout the state. It is the Missouri affiliate of the 3 million-member National Education Association.  


Posted Date: 12/9/2015
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