2015-09-29 National Governors Association

ESEA Conference

The Honorable Lamar Alexander
Chairman
Committee on Health, Education, Labor &
Pensions
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member
Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable John Kline
Chairman
Committee on Education and the Workforce
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Bobby Scott
Ranking Member
Committee on Education and the Workforce
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Alexander, Senator Murray, Chairman Kline, and Representative Scott:

On behalf of the nation’s governors, thank you for leading efforts to advance bills in both chambers to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Governors urge Congress and the Administration to enact a bipartisan law that restores balance to the state-federal education relationship.

For too long, the state and local vision for education has been overshadowed by No Child Left Behind’s prescriptive regime for improving schools. Waivers from the law only amplify the federal role in state education systems and underscore the need for reform. Our students cannot wait another school year for the promise of a federal education policy that works. Now is the time to work together during the conference process and ensure that a state-focused ESEA is completed this year.

Both House and Senate bills reinforce the idea that states and governors are best-positioned to implement real accountability, administer innovative assessments and support effective school improvement. As you resolve differences between the two bills, governors offer the attached principles and priorities to guide the conference committee during their negotiations.

We look forward to working with members of both bodies to maintain state-led K-12 systems, preserve supports for students from early childhood into the workforce and, ultimately, ensure that states and localities have the freedom to provide students the world-class education they deserve.

Sincerely,

Governor Jay Inslee
Chair
Education and Workforce Committee

Governor Robert Bentley
Vice Chair
Education and Workforce Committee