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Federal Legislation
November 1, 2011

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

Action Requested:
HSLDA urges you to contact U.S. senators on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and express concern over the new ESEA bill. The HELP Committee will be holding a hearing on ESEA on November 8, 2011. Your message can be as simple as, “I am concerned that the ESEA reauthorization bill scheduled for a committee hearing next Tuesday will greatly increase the federal government’s control over education. As a homeschooler, I understand that parents—not federal education officials—are best suited to make educational choices for their children. Please oppose attempts to increase national control over education.”

Senate Education Committee Members

Tom Harkin (IA) 202-224-3254
Barbara Mikulski (MD) 202-224-4654
Jeff Bingaman (NM) 202-224-5521
Patty Murray (WA) 202-224-2621
Bernard Sanders (VT) 202-224-5141
Robert Casey (PA) 202-224-6324
Kay Hagan (NC) 202-224-6342
Jeff Merkley (OR) 202-224-3753
Al Franken (MN) 202-224-5641
Michael Bennet (CO) 202-224-5852
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) 202-224-2921
Richard Blumenthal (CT) 202-224-2823
Michael Enzi (WY) 202-224-3424
Lamar Alexander (TN) 202-224-4944
Richard Burr (NC) 202-224-3154
Johnny Isakson (GA) 202-224-3643
Rand Paul (KY) 202-224-4343
Orrin Hatch (Utah) 202-224-5251
John McCain (AZ) 202-224-2235
Pat Roberts (KS) 202-224-4774
Lisa Murkowski (AK) 202-224-6665
Mark Kirk (IL) 202-224-2854

The new ESEA bill will increase federal control of education with federally outlined “College and Career Ready School Standards” as well as federal definitions of education.

10/20/2011Passed out of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, 15–7

Bill Summary

Talking Points:
The first new section of ESEA outlines “College and Career Ready Aligned Standards for Reading or Language Arts and Mathematics.” Schools receiving federal funds will have to put these standards in place by the end of 2013. Each state will need to show the federal government that they have aligned coursework to these standards and that each state applies the “same standards to all the elementary and secondary schools and students in the state.” Even if homeschoolers are exempted, aligning standards and coursework for the rest of the state could eventually lead to crowding out diplomas that do not follow these federally mandated standards.

Federally mandated standards also restrict the flexibility which allows education to succeed. We have seen time and time again that a top-down approach does not work in education. Each state and school, and the parents whose children attend these schools, must have the ability to set the education policies for their students.

 Other Resources

HSLDA: Calls Needed to Oppose the U.S. Senate’s Big-Government Education Bill

Is Congress Moving Toward Nationalized Standards?

Common Core State Standards Initiative: National Education Standards 2.0

Morning Bell: The Backdoor Attempt to Rewrite No Child Left Behind

With Waivers, National Standards Anything but Voluntary

State-Based Reform, Not National Standards, Key to Better Education

Senate No Child Left Behind Proposal: More Big Government for Schools

Splitting Hairs on the Cadaver