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BRT Letter Urging Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act

December 1, 2015

Dear Member of United States Congress:

On behalf of the more than 200 CEO members of Business Roundtable, I strongly encourage you to vote in favor of S.1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act, which would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Passage of this legislation would mark a historic moment in our nation’s longstanding commitment to ensuring all students are ready to succeed in college, career or military service.

The final ESEA legislation you will soon consider contains several provisions that are important to business leaders and were crucial to securing Business Roundtable endorsement. We are particularly pleased that the final legislation includes challenging academic standards; annual testing; increased transparency of school performance through state, district and school report cards; required state action to improve low performing schools; and enhanced support for public school choice and charter schools.

The Every Student Succeeds Act is clearly designed to rebalance the federal/state partnership on education policy to give states and school districts more flexibility to design their own accountability systems. With this increased flexibility comes great responsibility; no longer will states be able to point to federal micromanagement as the primary culprit if they are dissatisfied with the pace of educational achievement. As this law is implemented, states will fully possess the power to design their own individual systems to meet the needs of all students – particularly those with the most significant educational needs. As the power shifts from federal bureaucracies to state legislatures, Governors’ offices and state and local education agencies across the country, Business Roundtable will retain its commitment to working with all interested parties to keep the focus on accountability for results. CEOs believe that states’ current accountability systems, which place an emphasis on test scores and graduation rates, must remain a central feature of these systems. For our companies, there is no more important issue to the future of our nation.

We applaud all of the hard work that Senator Alexander, Senator Murray, Representative Kline and Representative Scott and their staffs have done to ensure the final bill benefits our nation’s students and helps them graduate from high school ready for the future. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

John Engler


JD/dl