Tester to Education Secretary: More work to do

Senator meets with Acting Secretary King to discuss education reforms

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester today met face-to-face with Acting Secretary of Education John King about reducing federal testing mandates, strengthening local control, and improving education in Indian Country.

Tester asked King to build upon the successes of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that Tester helped pass last December. The ESSA curbed the power of the Department of Education and eliminated punishments for schools who failed to hit unreasonable scoring benchmarks. The bill also included Tester’s amendment requiring the Department to gather input from local stakeholders before developing new rules.

Tester has contacted King directly to make sure the ESSA is implemented properly and to help states reduce duplicative standardized tests. The Senator last year led a chorus of students, parents, and educators, who called for an end to the federal testing regime under the failed No Child Left Behind Act.

“Congress took a step in the right direction when it passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, but we still have more work to do to make sure that every Montana student gets a first-rate education. And that’s what I impressed upon Secretary King,” said Tester, a former teacher and school board member in Big Sandy. “Properly implementing these new education reforms and giving a greater voice to school board members, parents and teachers will improve education for all students.”

Tester and King also discussed the trust and treaty responsibilities the federal government has to tribes and Native students. Tester emphasized King’s role in guaranteeing successful implementation of the ESSA provisions that increase collaboration between state, local, and tribal stakeholders. He also urged King to support the growth of Native American language immersion programs.

King has served as Acting Secretary since January and will be up for a confirmation vote in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee next week.