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December 7, 2015 - SENATE ESEA/ESSA VOTE IMMINENT: New Tool for Reaching State and Federal Legislators.

The vote in the U.S. Senate on the gargantuan, 1,061-page Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is now imminent. While we were initially told that the troubling proposed successor to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) would get a floor vote today, it's now looking like that vote has been shifted to tomorrow or soon after. That gives us just the tiniest bit more time to try to wake up federal and state legislators on this monumental piece of legislation. It's particularly important to try to get facts into the hands of U.S. senators before the vote because the talking points coming from Washington leadership have been anything but honest.

If you've been reading our blog for the last week or so, you know we've been working to provide you with valuable tools that you can use in approaching your legislators, and that we've placed particular emphasis on educating your state legislators on what this bill contains so that they can leverage their pull with federal counterparts in urging a no vote.

New Tools to Leverage

A couple of new resources have come across our path in the last day or so, and we're passing them on to you here. We've provided customized links for each, allowing people looking at them to know more quickliy and easily the value of looking at them.

The following document provides valuable information on the continuation of testing mandates in ESEA/ESSA. This document may be particularly helpful in attempting to assist Democratic legislators in seeing the problems with the proposed reuthorization bill. However, it was created to be used in your dialogue with any legislative office.


A friend of ours has also begun an initial comparison of ESSA to NCLB that already demonstrates that the "new language" is often similar or identical to NCLB but in some cases actually deepens it. It may be that you wish to use only specific points with certain legislators, but you're welcome to share the entire document.

Resources We've Already Cited

Just to keep things convenient, we're porting some of the tools we've previously cited into this post so that you can grab and use them more easily.

Here's the letter from Senator William Ligon of Georgia to Speaker Paul Ryan, blasting ESSA. Great for use with your state legislators in helping them to see that they should actively be encouraging their federal counterparts to vote NO on this reauthorization. The letter is going to be most helpful with Republicans, but some of Ligon's talking points may come in handy if you provide them to Democrats by another means, such as your own letter or a phone call.

Here's a great "Top 12 List" of problems with ESSA, including citations pulled right from ESSA's own language:

Here's a rebuttal by Dr. Karen Effrem to all of the starry-eyed U.S. House talking points on ESSA:

And here's a resource by Dr. Karen Effrem that's specifically on the Pre-K language in ESSA:

Morna McDermott's blog post at United Opt Out National on Competency-Based Education (CBE) and the data collection it's being used to further also remains a great tool, particularly for reaching Dems. They should know that ESSA's conferenced language is still chock full of this stuff.

If we see more in the next few hours, we'll update this post

Twitter Resource

PJNet has a Twitter action page you can leverage to tweet at both Republican and Democratic senators. The tweets are preloaded but may be easily edited before sending, in case you have message you'd prefer to deliver.

Don't forget to use the hashtag #StopESEA as that will allow lots of others to see your tweets and amplify them. Other hashtags that we'd recommend to ensure other people see what you're doing and can jump onboard:

  • #EndFedEd
  • #FedLedEd
  • #StopCommonCore
  • #RefuseTheTest
  • #OptOut

Again, if we hear of additional efforts of this nature, we'll keep you posted here.

The long and short of this all is that we have very little time to make an impact on U.S. Senators before this vote. We'll need to make the most of every minute.

Still so grateful for everyone out there--Left, Right, and Middle--working to throw gravel in the gears of this bad bill and all it contains.

The mantra remains: RETREAT IS DEFEAT.

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