Resolution on Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

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WHEREAS,  education is the largest line item in state budgets, and without additional federal support schools continue to struggle with funding, mandated annual testing, student transfers, and the requirement to provide supplemental services;

WHEREAS,  the next reauthorization should provide greater flexibility to states in how they meet the standards of ESEA, including allowing for the use of longitudinal or growth models as well as multiple sources of evidence to measure individual student academic achievement and school performance. Greater flexibility is needed when assessing and measuring the academic progress of the various student subgroups;

WHEREAS,  while The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) provided much needed fiscal support to maintain education programs, sustained and dedicated federal education support is necessary to avoid future layoffs and to build upon the reforms pursued with Recovery Act funding. 

WHEREAS,  reauthorization should recognize the distinct needs of rural, suburban, and urban areas in the delivery of educational services, including focusing on the use of online education technology;    

WHEREAS, ESEA provides for highly qualified teachers in core academic areas, but should focus on increasing flexibility for meeting the “highly qualified” teacher requirements, particularly for teachers of multiple subjects such as special education, bilingual, middle school, and rural educators, and advancing teacher quality at the highest poverty schools by providing funding to attract and retain quality teachers and improved teaching and learning conditions;

WHEREAS, ESEA should include a class size reduction program to improve student learning, with priority given to high poverty schools. Research has shown that reducing class sizes has a positive impact on maximizing student learning and closing achievement gaps, particularly in the early grades and students who need more individualized attention;

WHEREAS, ESEA should reinforce parental involvement programs and encourage community members to interact with neighborhood schools. Programs that encourage parent and community involvement in the school are vital in strengthening families and enhancing quality of life; and

WHEREAS, ESEA should support compensation systems that are designed to firmly establish teaching as a respected profession, improve student learning through improved teacher practice, and focus on factors shown to make a difference in teaching and learning. 

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments recognizes that to compete with their international peers, American students must graduate from high school college and career ready.  If implemented properly and funded, ESEA reforms could be long-term steps towards economic recovery and sustainability;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments urges the federal government to fully fund the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (P.L. 108-446), which could potentially save states upwards of $16 billion nationally; and  

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments calls upon federal education policymakers to work closely with state and local education officials during ESEA reauthorization to examine how ESEA is working in their communities and where improvements are needed, while maintaining a focus on accountability and standards. The federal government must also live up to its commitment and provide the necessary financial resources to implement the ESEA’s mandates by fully funding Title I programs to low-income school districts, Teacher Quality Grants, and state-mandated assessment costs