Tester: It’s time to reform our public education system

Senator delivers floor speech on Every Child Achieves Act

(U.S. Senate) – As Congress debates federal education policy, former school teacher and school board member Jon Tester is pushing for significant overhauls to the failed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy that has guided the nation’s public education system for over 13 years.

Tester, speaking from the Senate floor, highlighted the importance of returning decision making to local school districts, fostering creativity, flexibility and innovation in the classroom, and reducing the number of federally mandated tests.

“This week, as we work to reform elementary and secondary education – to ensure that our kids and our grandkids are prepared for the challenges of the global economy – we cannot afford to shortchange their future,” said Tester. “That means providing our schools with a framework to improve, but also letting them make decisions for themselves and providing the resources they need to succeed.”

Tester, who successfully included two amendments to the Every Child Achieves Act, praised the Senate’s bill for moving away from the top-down No Child Left Behind policy and allowing more input from the state and local level.

The Senator also offered an amendment to replace the federal annual testing requirement under No Child Left Behind and replace it with fewer tests. Instead of taking federally mandated tests every year as required under NCLB, Tester’s amendment would require students to only take one test in each subject in elementary school, in middle school and in high school. Additional testing would come at the discretion of states and school boards.

“My goal – and the goal of many in the body – is to give a greater voice to the state and community leaders to determine how best to educate our next generation,” Tester said. “Our schools should not be designed as data warehouses where we can collect statistics on every student in America. Instead, we should be making sure that our students love learning so that they continue to learn even after they graduate and enter the workforce.”

The Senator’s entire floor speech can be viewed HERE.