NCSL Letter to U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee on Markup of Legislation to Reauthorize the Elemenatary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA)


October 18, 2011 

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
428 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Michael B. Enzi
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
833 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

RE: Senate HELP Committee Markup of ESEA Reauthorization

Dear Chairman Harkin & Senator Enzi:

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is encouraged that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) is scheduled to markup a long overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  NCSL calls on Congress to swiftly reauthorize ESEA with attention to fostering cooperation between federal and state government and providing additional state flexibility.

Of particular note, NCSL supports the draft legislation’s removal of NCLB’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) regime and the 100 percent proficiency standard as a metric of progress, and focusing instead on ensuring that all children are college and career ready. 

NCSL is pleased that the draft bill recognizes the standards-based reforms and next generation assessments that states are pursuing.  On these and other issues—including teacher and principal evaluation and intervention strategies for low-performing schools—NCSL asks your committee to keep in mind the importance of state flexibility and quickly pass and implement a reformed ESEA that balances federal and state priorities.

NCSL Education Committee leadership and its staff look forward to working with you during this process.  If you have any questions, please contact NCSL Staff Lee Posey (; 202-624-8196) or Michael Reed (; 202-624-8187)


The Honorable John Goedde
Idaho Senate
Co-Chair, NCSL Education Committee 

The Honorable Roy Takumi
Hawaii House of Representatives
Co-Chair, NCSL Education Committee 

Cc: Senate HELP Committee Members
Attached: NCSL Policy: “Reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act.”