Alexander to Tennessee School Board Members: "New Education Law Puts Tennessee Back in Charge of Its Classrooms"

Posted on June 14, 2016

Encourages members to form a coalition to help state write new education plan, which is necessary to receive federal dollars 

“We have reversed the trend toward a national school board and are moving decisions out of Washington into the hands of classrooms, teachers and parents.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 14, 2016 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today welcomed members of the Tennessee School Boards Association to his Washington office. He told the members, "Tennessee public school classrooms are back in the hands of Tennesseans thanks to the new education law that repeals the federal Common Core mandate, reverses the trend toward a national school board and restores local control of public schools.”

“We have reversed the trend toward a national school board and are moving decisions out of Washington into the hands of classrooms, teachers and parents,” said Alexander. “I’d recommend that you form a coalition in Tennessee of teachers, principals, parents, superintendents, legislators, along with Governor Haslam and Education Commissioner Candace McQueen, and work together to write a new state education plan, which is necessary to receive federal dollars for your schools. The national coalition that worked to pass the law, is now working to see that it is implemented it as Congress wrote it—a state coalition is just as important.”

Alexander, who chairs the Senate education committee talked with the school board members about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was passed by the House 359-64, passed by the Senate 85-12, and signed by the president in December. In addition to ending the National School Board run out of Washington, D.C., the new law ended the federal Common Core mandate, “Mother May I?” conditional waivers, the highly qualified teacher definition and requirements, teacher evaluation mandates, federal school turnaround models, federal test-based accountability and adequate yearly progress.

Alexander has said the new law was passed thanks to a unique coalition of national, state, and local organizations—including governors, teachers, parents, superintendents, chief state school officers, school board members, and principals—who became fed up with Washington telling those closest to the children so much about what to do in our 100,000 public schools.

Alexander encouraged the school board members "to stay involved and stay in touch with me as we work to ensure Washington stays out of our classrooms.” Alexander has said, “The law isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on unless it is implemented properly, and I'll use every power of Congress to make sure the law is implemented the way we wrote it for 50 million students and 3.4 million teachers in 100,000 public schools.”

The Tennessee School Boards Association traveled to Washington to participate in the National School Boards Association’s Advocacy Institute. On Monday, Alexander spoke at the Advocacy Institute and discussed school boards’ new flexibility under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

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