Press Release

AFT President Weingarten on Senate Bipartisan ESEA Proposal

For Release: 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Janet Bass

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the Senate's bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization proposal sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.):

"At the beginning of this reauthorization process, we called on policymakers to reclaim the original purpose of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—to help children, particularly those at risk—and to end the testing fixation. Today, in a bipartisan manner, Sens. Alexander and Murray took an important first step by showing that, even in this current climate, one can find common ground by listening to teachers, parents and other important voices in education. Their framework restores ESEA's original intent of mitigating poverty and addressing education equity. It moves away from the increasingly counterproductive focus on sanctions, high-stakes tests, federalized teacher evaluations and school closings. And it will help return the joy of teaching and learning that's been missing as a result of testing and test-prep fixation in too many classrooms.

"This is just the beginning of a process; the road is long, and many issues still need to be addressed. But this bipartisan Senate framework is significant. We're seeing a glimmer of hope in this reauthorized bill, one that's in the tradition of providing resources for those with the most needs and enabling all of us to do what's right for our kids."

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.