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Bonamici Joins Secretary Duncan to Call for ESEA Reauthorization, Praises Growing Momentum

January 12, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) joined Education Secretary Arne Duncan at a Washington, D.C. elementary school today to emphasize the need to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The law, which was last reauthorized in 2001 with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, outlines federal education policy and provides funding for certain programs in the nation’s public schools.

Congresswoman Bonamici praised the growing momentum to renew the law, and she applauded Secretary Duncan for calling for reauthorization.

“The ESEA was a significant and historic piece of legislation, but the most recent reauthorization needs major changes,” Congresswoman Bonamici said. “Over the years, the implementation of many of the No Child Left Behind Act’s provisions has left our teachers hamstrung and our students and parents frustrated. High-stakes testing has created a stressful environment for students, parents, and teachers. Unworkable accountability requirements suffocate opportunities for creativity and, in too many places, take the joy out of teaching and learning. It’s up to lawmakers to work together to address these flaws and develop substantive policy to improve the environment in our classrooms while maintaining the goal of equal access to a quality education.”

Congresswoman Bonamici recently introduced the Support Making Assessments Reliable and Timely (SMART) Act, which will help states audit their testing systems and eliminate redundant or unnecessary tests.

“The SMART Act will provide states and districts with funding to streamline their testing systems. It will restore valuable time to teachers so they spend less time on testing and more on meaningful instruction, Congresswoman Bonamici said. “Well-designed assessments can inform instruction and help monitor growth, but many don’t meet this standard. The SMART Act will help states and districts identify and eliminate ineffective assessments and make better use of those that remain.”

Congresswoman Bonamici’s SMART Act has the approval of a broad coalition that includes the National Education Association, Education Trust, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Center for American Progress, and the National Parent-Teacher Association.

“The role of assessments is certain to be a significant topic in negotiations on the next ESEA reauthorization,” Congresswoman Bonamici added. “The SMART Act has received broad support and is well-positioned to become a feature of the reauthorized law. I am optimistic that my colleagues and I will be able to find common ground to remove punitive accountability measures, support educators, and continue to emphasize equity and opportunity for all students.”

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