Tester pushes for greater local control in the classroom

As Senate begins debating federal education policy, Senator Tester pushes amendments

(U.S. Senate) – As the Senate begins debating federal education policy, Montana’s teacher-turned-Senator Jon Tester successfully included a bipartisan amendment to give local school boards greater control in the classroom.

Tester’s amendment, which is cosponsored by Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Angus King (I-Maine) encourages the Secretary of Education to receive input from local stakeholders like school boards before developing any new rules or regulations. Tester offered his amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) – a bill that ends the unpopular No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and reforms federal elementary and secondary education policy.  Tester’s amendment passed unanimously.

Tester, a former public school teacher and school board member, has been a staunch critic of NCLB since he was first sworn in as Montana’s Senator.

“The failure of No Child Left Behind to improve education in rural America is proof enough that local school boards know better than anyone what their students need,” Tester said. “This amendment will help local folks in Montana have greater input over what happens in classrooms in Montana.”

Tester is also offering his “grade span” testing bill as an amendment to ECAA to remove federal annual testing requirement and replace it with fewer tests.  Tester also successfully included an amendment on ECAA to restore four grant programs that help improve education in Indian Country.

Tester recently met with Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, as well as students, school board members, administrators and teachers at Poly Drive Elementary School in Billings, to discuss how much classroom time is taken up by NCLB’s annual federal testing requirements.