NSBA Statement on ESEA Reauthorization

January 14, 2015

Statement of the National School Boards Association

Alexandria, Va. (Jan. 14, 2015) - As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), and other lawmakers discuss their priorities for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) , the National School Boards Association announces its top priorities to advance student achievement and ensure all students have equitable access to a high quality education. Also in a speech on Monday (Jan. 12), U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan outlined Administration priorities for reauthorizing No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the latest iteration of ESEA.

"We all agree, the current version of ESEA must be revamped, taking care not to repeat the inadequacies of the existing law," said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association. "A modern ESEA must ensure that local school boards in local communities across the nation gain the flexibility essential to deliver a high-quality public education. NSBA calls for flexibility and strong local governance, among other priorities aimed at supporting student outcomes, to appear in any version of ESEA sent to the president for his signature."

With Alexander’s nearly 400-page draft bill, “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015,” under scrutiny, and in advance of congressional hearings next week, NSBA calls for a comprehensive, strategic reauthorization of ESEA that provides school districts with the flexibility and funding essential to support local community public schools and our nation’s public schoolchildren. 

NSBA urges Congress to pass legislation that will:

  1. Safeguard the authority and flexibility of states and local school districts, without placing undue burden on districts or adversely impacting effective local governance.
  2. Ensure the modernized version of ESEA is fully supported by federal investments in Title I, a cornerstone of ESEA intended to improve academic achievement of disadvantaged students, which has been woefully underfunded for decades.  And, also ensure Title V restores local flexibility to provide innovative programs and services and is fully supported by federal investments to advance local innovative programs effective in closing achievement gaps.
  3. Ensure ESEA going forward includes requirements for Maintenance of Effort (a provision of the current law that requires states and districts to maintain spending at a certain level in order to access federal funds) to help sustain and improve education services for millions of students.
  4. Eliminate the sanctions of NCLB that impose unintended consequences on schools that are trying to improve and advance reform.
  5. Protect the federal investments in public education and ensure public dollars are not redirected to private schools.

NSBA leaders are available for comment or interview:
Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, National Schools Boards Association
Michael C. Zola, Associate Executive Director, Federal Advocacy & Public Policy, National School Boards Association

Interviews may be arranged through Linda Embrey,, or 703-838-6737
Communications Office, National School Boards Association

# # #

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.

Go to top