Eagle Forum Statement on ESEA Reauthorization
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2015
Washington, D.C.: After months of secret negotiations to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the education reauthorization to replace the failed No Child Left Behind, President Obama has signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), favored by the education bureaucracy but opposed by many conservatives. President Obama’s quick and willful signature on this education overhaul should only increase skepticism that this bill will meaningfully reduce federal meddling in education.
Conservative goals for education policy are simple: reduce the role of the federal government, respect the primary role of parents, and protect the privacy of students. ESSA falls short on every one of these issues.
ESSA cuts a few programs but retains many more and even adds a few, such as a pre-K grant now authorized for the first time. Spending levels will increase over the life of this act, and in spite of the outrage from millions of parents, the onerous NCLB testing mandates remain. Washington bureaucrats will still have plenty to do.
Despite popular rhetoric from supporters, this bill does not eliminate Common Core. While it contains more explicit prohibitions on the Secretary of Education, federal law already contained numerous provisions limiting the Secretary and the Department that have been repeatedly defied without consequence. The damage has already been done, and unless states take action, those that have Common Core today will still have it tomorrow.
Phyllis Schlafly and Eagle Forum have fought the progressive education agenda through its every iteration for over 40 years. Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act is an incentive to work even harder for our education agenda. Concerned parents and education activists still have ways to fulfill conservative goals: Urge states to end their involvement in Common Core. Push Congress to pass laws protecting student privacy and parental rights. Elect a president truly committed to ending the oversized federal role in education.