Durbin Meets with Local Education Leaders to Discuss Overhaul of No Child Left Behind

New law reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, provides greater flexibility to states, invests in early childhood education

SPRINGFIELD, IL – A day after President Obama signed the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Jennifer Gill, representatives from the Illinois Education Association and Illinois Federation of Teachers, and other educators to discuss the new education law that will overhaul No Child Left Behind. The Every Student Succeeds Act provides a more flexible approach to student testing and school accountability.

“This bill is more directly tied to the future prosperity of the United States than virtually any other issue we face here in Congress.  It will decide whether our children and grandchildren receive the quality education they deserve – from preschool to high school and beyond,” said Durbin.  “The Every Student Succeeds Act makes important improvements to our elementary and secondary education system.  I was pleased to vote in favor of a bill to give parents, teachers, and principals in Springfield and across Illinois a replacement to No Child Left Behind.”

The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states greater flexibility in developing plans that ensure all students graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce. States are required to set academic standards, measure achievement, and hold themselves accountable, but there are important federal guard rails to protect minorities and underperforming students. The law will preserve annual assessments but reduce the reliance on the often ineffective and high-stakes testing.

Schools that are performing in the bottom 5%, according to a state’s accountability system, and school’s with less than 67% of their students graduating, are required to make changes designed to improve performance, but those changes will be up to the states and districts to decide.

The Every Student Succeeds Act also includes a grant program to provide funding for states to improve coordination, quality, and access for early childhood education which is critical to making sure every child has a strong start in life.