2015-07-07 National Governors Association

ESEA Reauthorization

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Harry Reid
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Lamar Alexander
Chairman, Committee on
Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member, Committee on
Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senators McConnell, Reid, Alexander and Murray:

The nation’s governors support the Every Child Achieves Act’s (Every Child) framework to restore balance to the state-federal education relationship and complete the long overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

In February, the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures released their vision for a bipartisan federal education policy. Every Child embodies key aspects of that plan by moving from a one-size-fits-all mandate to a flexible system that provides state and local leaders greater freedom to help students succeed. It creates more opportunities for English language learners and calls for an accountability system based on state-determined goals that prioritize preparing students for college and career. Under Every Child, school improvement is not static, but a process that builds on state and local innovation.

We also applaud the leadership of Senator Dean Heller and Senator Joe Manchin for encouraging increased collaboration between governors and chief state school officers. Coordinated planning will help ensure that ESEA is part of a state’s comprehensive education plan including early childhood learning, higher education and workforce development.

The unanimous support for Every Child during the Committee markup illustrated the pragmatic approach Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Patty Murray took to transform No Child Left Behind. Governors urge the Senate to maintain the bill’s flexible and bipartisan framework as it is considered on the floor.

Thank you for your leadership to address this critical issue. We urge the Senate to support Every Child and look forward to completing ESEA reauthorization this year.

Sincerely,

Governor Brian Sandoval
Chair
Education and Workforce Committee
Governor Maggie Hassan
Vice Chair
Education and Workforce Committee