Senators Alexander and Murray Get it Wrong for America’s School-Age Children


Today, Senator Lamar Alexander, Chair of the Senate HELP Committee and Senator Patty Murray, ranking Democrat, reached agreement on a reauthorization of the Elementary Secondary Education Act. They have titled their legislation, the “Every Child Achieves Act of 2015,”….I am gagging already. They think this is an improvement over the last reauthorization known as the “No Child Left Behind?”

IMHO they are devastatingly wrong. They are destroying public education. They are setting up millions of children to not achieve, and I believe they know it.

I am going to take heat for this blog but I honestly don’t care.

I will forever believe that America’s children cannot be the educational property of their school districts, communities and states. They are America’s children and belong to all of us.

They deserve to be taught by rigorously and equally prepared teachers. Giving local control is going in the wrong direction. I want more than anything for our Federal government and We the People to invest in public education.

–I want charters gone. We have never needed innovation through this warped brand of un-public education.
–I don’t ever again want to hear the word voucher. Vouchers do not supplant a free appropriate public education.
–I want substitute teacher requirements to require that a real teacher staffs a classroom, both short and long term.
–I want a national battery of assessments designed by our nation and world’s leading educational researchers. Tests that are used for the purpose of allowing students to demonstrate knowledge and for diagnostic purposes.
–I want the earliest intervention to identify struggling learners due to poor economic conditions and real learning disabilities.
— I want children entering Kindergarten to have full cognitive batteries, literacy and numeracy assessments, speech-language assessments, and sensory processing assessments, and for the purpose of understanding how our children think, feel, communicate and process.
–I want students applying for teacher preparation programs to be evaluated to see if they even like children, and how they feel about diversity and disability, and are they better suited to various age groups. I want teachers trained like they are in Finland and then paid the salaries they deserve.
— I want the end of maintenance of effort because I am tired of watching school districts balance their budgets on the backs of students with disabilities through increases to the IDEA appropriation.
–I want verbiage to limit philanthropy and charitable contributions to limit contributions to money, and not to control how curriculum is designed or delivered. –I want Pearson charged for the monopoly that they are.
–I want all advocacy groups who claim they are fighting for “public education” to include ALL students and not exclude those with disabilities.
–I want advocacy groups to rethink the idea that ALL tests are bad. I don’t think testing is bad. I think the current tests used by states, districts and the NAEP are poorly designed, misused and abused.
–I want children fed, clothed and housed, and ready to learn.

Frankly, I want truly public education in America and no one will convince me that this takes place at the local level across thousands of school districts in the United States. It is long overdue that this nation has a real dialogue about the state of public education, or give up and put our school-age children on boats to Finland, September through June.–summary.pdf

Scroll to Top