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  • Meagan Dorsch
    Director of Public Affairs
  • Jon Kuhl
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Washington, D.C.
Feb. 6, 2011

State and Local Governance Coalition Push for Long-Term Fix and Reauthorization of ESEA

WASHINGTON—Five state and local government groups today urged Congress to reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and enact legislation that would reframe the federal-state-local partnership before the next school year begins.

State and local leaders have been working together to find new and innovative ways to deliver services to their citizens, including ways to ensure every student receives a world-class public education and is ready to compete in a global economy.

As state and local government leaders responsible for funding, setting policy and overseeing the nation’s public education system, the leaders of these organizations are united in their call for Congress to fix and reform ESEA and to adhere to the State and Local Governance Coalition Statement of Principles to:

  • Provide greater flexibility to state and local leaders.
  • Increase flexibility in federal funding.
  • Recognize state and local budget challenges.
  • Streamline federal red tape and compliance requirements.
  • Streamline the waiver process.

“State and local officials take their role in educating America’s children very seriously,” said National Conference of State Legislatures Executive Director William Pound. “By statute and constitution, our system of K-12 education is overwhelmingly a state responsibility. We hope Congress will take note of our commitment and reauthorize ESEA in a way that enhances state efforts to raise the academic achievement of all students.”

“Governors, along with state and local leaders, are working together to find innovative approaches to ensure every student is college and career ready,” said National Governors Association Executive Director Dan Crippen. “Now, we need the federal government to be a partner in our efforts to build a world-class public education system, and we hope these core principles will guide future discussions.”

"To achieve excellence in education, and restore America’s global competitiveness, states recognize that our educational systems must be reinvigorated and transformed so all students have access to the best education possible,” said David Adkins, executive director of The Council of State Governments. “Reauthorization of ESEA must focus on college- and career-readiness at all levels while offering state and local leaders the ultimate flexibility in creating innovative solutions to strengthen tomorrow’s workforce. Our future prosperity depends on it.”

“All counties, regardless of their fiscal responsibility for education, are interested in an effective educational system because it is good for our children and our economy,” said National Association of Counties Executive Director Larry E. Naake.

National School Boards Association Executive Director Anne L. Bryant said it's “important to local school districts that Congress reauthorizes ESEA now and replaces the current accountability system that neither accurately nor fairly reflects the performance of students, schools or school districts. Local school districts must be free of federal mandates that unnecessarily or counterproductively hinder them from achieving their goals of increasing student achievement. It is essential that local school districts have greater authority and flexibility to develop, design and implement educational strategies to address the unique challenges facing our local communities.”

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.