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NEA welcomes historic step to usher in new era in public education

U.S. House approves bill to create greater opportunity for every student to succeed

WASHINGTON - December 02, 2015 -

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bipartisan and bicameral bill to reauthorize the federal education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Senate is expected to take up ESSA next week.

Educators and students have lived with the unintended consequences of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for years. As a result, NEA members have waged an unprecedented mobilization and advocacy campaign on behalf of the nation’s students 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. This herculean effort, which NEA launched in earnest in February with its “Get ESEA Right” national campaign, and peaking this past summer when both legislative chambers passed their respective bills, resulted in a bipartisan and bicameral compromise and eventual bill language in late November.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:

“Today, the U.S. House of Representatives took a historic step to usher in a new era in public education that will ensure every child has equal opportunity to a high quality education regardless of ZIP Code.

“On behalf of NEA’s three million members, we offer our strong support for the Every Student Succeeds Act.

“For the first time since No Child Left Behind was enacted nearly 14 years ago, ESSA empowers educators as trusted professionals to make school and classroom decisions while keeping the focus on students most in need. The bill also reduces the amount of standardized testing in schools and, most importantly, decouples high-stakes decision-making and statewide standardized tests so that so students have more time to learn and teachers have more time to teach. Last, ESSA begins to close the opportunity gaps for students by providing a new accountability system that includes an ‘opportunity dashboard’ with – for the first time – indicators of school success and student support.

“We applaud the U.S. House for getting the job done and doing what works for students, educators, and public education. We urge the Senate to follow suit and send a bill to the president that gives every student the opportunity, support, tools, and time to learn.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

Contact: Miguel A. Gonzalez