Lamar Alexander’s ESSA: Room for John King, But Not Opting Out
On February 22, 2016, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was among a number of legislators participating in the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Conference.
At minute 1:05:30, Alexander reflects on “fixing No Child Left Behind” and advises governors, “You don’t put people in a corner.”
What came immediately to my mind was the corner that Alexander’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) puts both parents and governors in by its 95 percent testing requirement.
I call it “Alexander’s ESSA” because he is the visible legislator steering that ship– and the person who has already declared that he will see to having Obama’s pick for US secretary of education confirmed. As Daarel Burnette II of EdWeek reports:
[Alexander’s] speech [to NGA] at the JW Marriott came just days before the Senate education committee is to hold a confirmation hearing for acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., who President Barack Obama has nominated to be secretary. “I urged him to appoint somebody and I told him I’d make sure he was confirmed,” Alexander said.
According to ESSA, each year, 95 percent of all enrolled students in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school in public schools in each state receiving Title I funds are required to complete nationally recognized standardized tests, and states are required to demonstrate how they will include the results of the testing in their accountability plans.
There is some nonsense language about states’ not blaming ESSA for their opt out policies, but the truth is that via ESSA, the federal government is intending that there be no opting out of the federally mandated testing associated with Title I.
In other words, when it comes to opting out of federally mandated testing, Alexander’s ESSA puts governors and parents in the corner.
If states do not meet the federally required 95 percent of students tested, then it will Lamar Alexander’s ESSA: Room for John King, But Not Opting Out | deutsch29: