When it comes to education policy, Tester fights to ensure local voices are heard

Senator emphasizes importance of rural perspective in education

(U.S. Senate) – After enacting the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to give greater control of education back to states and local stakeholders, Senator Jon Tester is working to make sure the Department of Education incorporates input from teachers, students, and school boards as it implements this new legislation.

Tester worked across the aisle to ensure that folks on the ground had a voice in this process by passing an amendment to the ESSA that requires the Department to consider input from local stakeholders before issuing any non-regulatory guidance. Following up on that work, the Senator sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of the Department of Education, John King, urging him to consider certain factors when soliciting this input.

The Senator, who taught and served on the school board in Big Sandy, highlighted three major questions in his letter, including what concrete steps the Department plans to take to incorporate input from as many local stakeholders as possible. The Senator also emphasized the importance of soliciting input from a diverse group of stakeholders from various locations and professions.

“We urge you to ensure that the stakeholders consulted are geographically diverse, including those from rural, not just suburban and urban areas,” Tester wrote. “It is vital that the Department gathers input from various professional perspectives…to engage with, at a minimum, local school boards, school administrators, and teachers.”

Last month, Tester called on the Department of Education to assist states as they try to eliminate duplicative standardized tests. Tester led a chorus of students, parents and educators who called for an end to the federal testing regime under No Child Left Behind.

Tester’s letter to Acting Secretary King is available online HERE.