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November 19, 2015 - URGENT: Further Info to Share with State and Federal Legislators on NCLB Reauthorization

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Here are some additional messages we need you to know and help us get through VERY QUICKLY both to federal and state legislators, regarding ESEA/NCLB reauthorization:

1. This is NOT the transparent, responsible process Paul Ryan promised.

2. There is NO public document/draft available to see what the House and Senate committees are reconciling. Something is very wrong with this bill. Ryan will be blamed. 

3. The conference draft has reportedly only been provided to legislators in hard copy and is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000+ pages long. The conference committee is being given only TWO DAYS TO REVIEW the bill. Conferees should vote no for this reason alone, because they will not have the time needed to know what is in this bill before they vote on it. To be frank, conferees are being rolled and will take a major fall on this bill, right along with Speaker Ryan.

4. Those advocating for this bill say it curtails the Obama administration's overreach in education. That is deeply misleading information. Sandra Stotsky and other experts are communicating that the bill SIMPLY HIDES FEDERAL CONTROL BETTER. Rather than handing control back to local districts, it gives it to state agencies. But as Stotsky and others have pointed out, state departments of ed are little more than storefronts for the Feds. Moreover, believe me, there are plenty of other items buried in this bill to ensure that states will remain compliant, entrenching every bit of bad we've already seen in education...and then some.

5. By all accounts, Alexander/Murray language still buried in the conference draft would keep in place a damaging practice of sending Title I billions to unqualified "professional developers," paraprofessionals and mis-trained reading teachers ("Highly Qualified Teachers"). This system has contributed to enormous damage to minority kids over the past 50 years and would continue due to the language still buried in this bill. If Speaker Ryan and his colleagues actually want to help minority kids, they will fail to do so under this reauthorization.

6. STATE LEGISLATORS AND GOVERNORS WILL BE AFFECTED!! Please bring the following to their attention: Additional Alexander/Murray language still included in the bill places an UNFUNDED MANDATE for Common Core-based tests ON THE STATES. Either the states or the locals will have to cough up the money, because there won't be enough in Title I. Locals will scream if most of the Title I money is eaten up by SBAC, PARCC, Aspire, SAT, or whatever other "aligned" assessments the state leverages to comply with the mandate. If this reauthorization passes, state elected officials will reap the fallout. They should be doing everything they can to prevent that outcome by speaking with their colleagues in Washington NOW.

7. Speaker Ryan should be encouraged by us and by our state legislators and governors to drag his heels on this bill every step of the way and to ensure EXTENSIVE PUBLIC HEARINGS. It would be preferable if no vote were to occur on this bill at all. Frankly, ESEA/NCLB should finally fade into the annals of failed education policy. If there is to be a vote, it should NOT happen until the people and their representatives have had full opportunity to investigate and weigh in on the matter.

Thank you for your commitment to true education, to stopping the bad stuff in Washington, and for your partnership in the fight. As always, we're incredibly grateful for you.

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