AACTE Applauds Committee Passage of Every Child Achieves Act
AACTE applauds the leadership of U.S. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) on the unanimous, bipartisan passage of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECA). AACTE is pleased with the committee’s progress on the long overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The bill moves away from the "test and punish" strategy that evolved from the implementation of the current version of ESEA, known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. While the bill retains the requirement for annual assessments disaggregated by subgroups, it leaves states, schools, teachers, and parents to determine what to do about the results of those assessments. AACTE believes students would benefit from stronger accountability for subgroup results, but overall, the bill makes important bipartisan progress toward fixing a broken law.
AACTE is pleased with the focus of Title II of the bill, which authorizes funding for professional development for educators. The rewrite of this title incorporates several positive changes:
- It builds a bridge to Title II of the Higher Education Act by supporting an expansion of the robust preparation of teachers and leaders authorized in the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) program. This program, which prioritizes clinical preparation and induction programs for new teachers, also promotes residency programs where candidates work hand in hand with master teachers to learn how to be profession ready. The Title II of ECA would enable the scaling up of TQP-type programs so that these innovations and reforms become systemic across the nation.
- It focuses on the career continuum for educators, including teacher leadership.
- It supports strengthening teacher preparation programs and the role of teacher performance assessments for candidates.
AACTE and multiple other education organizations shared their opposition to an amendment, proposed by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), to include the GREAT Act in the Every Child Achieves Act. AACTE was pleased that the amendment was not offered during the committee markup and will remain vigilant as the bill moves on to consideration on the Senate floor.
AACTE looks forward to working with Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray as the Senate bill moves through the legislative process.