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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Bipartisan Legislation to Fix “No Child Left Behind”

Major education bill features several Baldwin-authored provisions 

Committee chairman calls Baldwin’s SMART Act amendment a “significant contribution” to overall legislation 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement after the committee voted unanimously by a vote of 22-0 to pass the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA), which is a bipartisan bill to rewrite the broken No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. The bill, which includes several Baldwin-authored provisions, now heads to the full Senate for consideration.  

“The Every Child Achieves Act is a strong bipartisan step forward as we work to finally fix the broken No Child Left Behind law, which was a one-size-fits-all approach that simply did not work for Wisconsin or its students. Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray, today we put politics aside in order to get closer to fulfilling the fifty-year-old promise of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that every child has the opportunity to achieve

“However, I believe there is more that must be done as this measure moves forward. We must ensure that core educational resources are available to all children, regardless of where they live or how much their parents make. Accountability systems must be strengthened, so low-income and minority students, and students with disabilities do not fall through the cracks, and that the work of closing our achievement and opportunity gaps continues. Increasing the number of students who graduate from high school must be a priority, with a dedicated program similar to my NextGen High Schools Act, which provides schools flexibility and support to redesign, innovate and better serve their students. And it is imperative that our children have a safe environment in which they can learn, and we must work to protect all of them from bullying, harassment and discrimination in our nation’s schools.   

“I look forward to making these objectives a priority as we continue our work in the Senate to enact a bill that truly fulfills the promise of ESEA for children and families in Wisconsin and all across this country.”

The first amendment to ECAA adopted by the HELP Committee was introduced by Baldwin, and largely modeled after her Support Making Assessments Reliable and Timely (SMART) Act. The amendment would move away from the punitive nature of NCLB and help remove the pressure of testing from teachers, students and parents. Baldwin’s amendment, which cleared the committee 22-0, would help states further address the burdensome side of testing by supporting their efforts to streamline and improve their assessment systems.

Baldwin’s SMART Act has broad support, including endorsements from the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the Education Trust, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCR), the Center for American Progress, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the National Council of La Raza, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Democrats for Education Reform, Third Way, Tech Plus, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

In addition, the following Baldwin-authored amendments were passed by the committee and included in the overall bipartisan legislation:

  • Career and Technical Education Reporting: Integrates the reporting of the number and percentage of students attaining career and technical proficiencies on the State, local educational agency, and school report cards.
  • Physical Education Program: Provides grants and contracts to local educational agencies and community-based organizations to initiate, expand and improve physical education programs.
  • Education Technology: Awards grants to encourage State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and schools to utilize technology to improve student achievement and college and career readiness, the skills of teachers and school leaders, and the efficiency and productivity of education systems at all levels. (Based on Baldwin’s Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Act