COLUMBUS – December 9, 2015 – The largest association of professional educators in Ohio today heralded the end of the “test, blame and punish” era of the No Child Left Behind Act with the passage in Congress of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The new law puts educational decision-making back where it belongs – in the hands of local educators, parents and communities – while keeping the focus on students most in need. ESSA recognizes that student success is more than a test score by allowing states to gauge student achievement through multiple measures.
“ESSA recognizes that the one-size-fits-all approach to student achievement does not work,” said Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Becky Higgins. “ESSA will allow Ohio to reduce the amount of standardized testing. In doing so, students will have more time to learn and develop critical thinking, and teachers will have more time to teach and inspire the joy of learning. The measure also provides an opportunity for educators to have a greater voice in shaping education policy.”
Students and educators have lived with the unintended consequences of the failed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for more than 14 years. OEA members advocated on behalf of Ohio’s students in the effort to turn the page on the failed NCLB law and to pass a new federal education law that provides more opportunity for all students.
Leading up to ESSA’s passage, educators in Ohio and across the nation used face-to-face meetings with lawmakers, made phone calls, sent emails and used social media to urge Congress to bring the joy of teaching and learning back to the classroom. Educators nationwide made nearly a half million individual contacts to members of Congress.
President Higgins also noted that ESSA includes provisions for greater charter school accountability and transparency that complement Ohio House Bill 2 that was signed into law last month.
“We welcome the provisions that call for stronger charter school accountability and transparency – something that has been lacking in Ohio for too long,” Higgins said, “and we applaud the hard work done by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown to make sure these provisions were included in ESSA.”
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The Ohio Education Association (ohea.org) represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s public schools, colleges and universities.