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Wasting No Time: Obama to Sign ESSA into Law on December 10, 2015.

December 9, 2015

On November 30, 2015, the public first saw the 1,061-page final draft of the next Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization, now named the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

On December 02, 2015, the House passed ESSA by a vote of 359-64.

On December 09,2015, the Senate passed ESSA by a vote of 85-12.

ESSA is not officially law until President Obama signs the bill.

That is scheduled to happen in short order, on the morning of December 10, 2015.

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who joined Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to head up the Senate version of the ESEA reauthorization, offered this glowing statement that was published in The Redmond  Reporter (Washington State) within hours after the Senate vote. In her statement, Murray confirms Obama’s plan to sign ESSA into law one day after the Senate vote:

Today (12/09/15) at 10:32AM (Pacific Time)

Submitted by Sen. Patty Murray

Today, by a vote of 85-12 the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-WA) bipartisan legislation to rewrite No Child Left Behind.

After hearing from parents, teachers, school administrators and local and state officials in Washington state about how No Child Left Behind is badly broken, Sen. Murray worked with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Republicans for almost a year to craft this bipartisan legislation. ESSA takes major strides in ensuring strong federal guardrails for accountability, shining a light on resource inequities, reducing reliance on high-stakes testing and for the first time, includes dedicated funding for preschool in the nation’s primary elementary and secondary education law.

President Obama plans to sign the legislation into law tomorrow morning at a signing ceremony at the White House.

The Redmond Reporter continues by quoting Murray in an apparent brief interview:

Sen. Murray said: “I am thrilled that we have taken this last step in Congress to finally fix No Child Left Behind in a way that works for students, parents, teachers and communities in Washington state and across the country. I fought hard to break through the gridlock and dysfunction in Congress to get this done, because I heard from too many families that the old law simply wasn’t working for them. Throughout this process, I was proud to be a voice for Washington state families, to fight for their priorities, and to ensure that this law will work for our state.

“The Every Student Succeeds Act includes strong federal guardrails to ensure all students have access to a quality education, reduces reliance on high-stakes testing, makes strong investments to improve and expand access to preschool for our youngest learners, and so much more. I’m looking forward to President Obama signing this bipartisan bill into law to help more students get the chance to learn, grow and thrive in the classroom and beyond,” she added.

Getting Congress to move beyond the now-15-year-old No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) is quite a feat. However, the potential oppressive effects of the massive, test-centered, opt-out-showdown-foreshadowing ESSA upon states and districts (among a number of other, corporate ed reform friendly provisions) leads me to believe that ESEA’s usefulness is smothered beneath a political negotiation too far removed from the actual K12 classroom.

Out of NCLB.

Into ESSA.

obama scantron


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, published in June 2015.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.


  1. Mireille Ellsworth permalink

    “Guardrails” = anticipation of a wreck!

  2. Bruce Huntet permalink

    You hit the nail on the head with your comments. Very few public school people involved

  3. Lexington High School in Massachusetts, often rated the best public high school in the state, now
    labeled “Level 2” by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education because less than
    95% of the students participated in high stakes testing. (Reported by DESE Dec. 9, 2015)

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