Alexandria, Va. (July 16, 2015) -- In light of the U.S. Senate’s passage of its fix for No Child Left Behind, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) applauds the bipartisan consensus to restore local governance in public education. NSBA has worked closely with senators on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) includes provisions to underscore the importance of local governance and community ownership so that our nation’s 90,000 school board members can offer all students a world-class public education.
By a vote of 81-17, the Senate passed S.1177, to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Chairman, Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, hailed this vote as a “remarkable consensus” achieved by Senate lawmakers. Multiple amendments were considered (by either recorded vote or voice vote) and roughly half were agreed to, including a tri-partisan measure offered by Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to restore local governance and greater flexibility to local school boards. Senator Fischer, a former school board member and past president of the Nebraska Association of School Boards, introduced the amendment with Senators King and Tester to “ensure that communities have ultimate authority over their school districts,” and “strengthen the relationship among local school board members and parents.”
“We greatly appreciate the strong leadership of Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray for anchoring a bipartisan fix for NCLB that affirms the value of local governance,” stated Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director. “Today’s passage of S.1177 and the House’s recent passage of H.R. 5, the Student Success Act – both of which include local governance provisions – are promising signs that the final bill will incorporate provisions to support community ownership of all public schools.”
NSBA’s legislative governing body, the Delegate Assembly, informed the Fisher-King-Tester Amendment, which is a solid step toward granting school districts greater flexibility to respond to the needs of all students. The provision requires local autonomy in managing school administration, budget development, and related operations that support school district responsibilities for student achievement.
During the upcoming House and Senate conference proceedings to reconcile differences between the two bills, NSBA will continue to call on lawmakers to pass a final bill that reaffirms local governance, invests in Title I programs, and excludes private vouchers, tuition tax credits, or existing voucher programs.
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The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Learn more at: www.nsba.org.