Educators welcome new education law to create greater opportunity for every student

At a White House ceremony President Barack Obama today signed into law S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan and bicameral bill to reauthorize the federal education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

“Every child, regardless of race, income, background, or zip code…deserves the chance to make of their lives what they will.”
~ President Obama at today’s ESSA signing ceremony

Aloha Colleagues,

I am excited to announce that a few hours ago President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act. This law returns the authority over many of the failed policies of No Child Left Behind to the states.

With this new law:

A. The federal government has no role whatsoever in teacher evaluations.

B. States would no longer be required to tie teacher evaluations to student outcomes.

C. Up to 7 states would be allowed to create their own local tests, and at the high school level states could choose nationally recognized tests(SAT, ACT) instead of having to use the SBA.

D. States must have challenging academic standards, but there would be no punishment for choosing or not choosing to use Common Core.

I want to thank all of our members who contacted Hawaii’s congressional delegation to express support for the Every Child Succeeds Act. And I hope you will join me in expressing thanks to Hawaii’s members of Congress for their efforts on our behalf.(Send a message HERE>>>)

The passage of this new law gives our union great opportunity to move away from the “test and punish” culture and the scapegoating of teachers. Still, there is a lot of work to be done. Even though the law gives states the power to make these changes, we as a union must take action to ensure these changes occur in Hawaii. On Tuesday, (December 9) we announced the “Schools Our Keiki Deserve” initiative which includes language to move away from high stakes testing and, instead, teaches to the whole child. We will be holding a rally at the state capitol on February 5, 2016 from 3:30 - 6:00 p.m. in order to urge the Legislature to pass this bill. Also, our current contract expires on June 30, 2017. And with the passing of this bill, the BOE will no longer be forced to use EES. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I am excited that with this new law, we can truly give our students the schools they deserve.

Corey Rosenlee
HSTA President

HSTA:  United in the pursuit of excellence for Hawaii’s public schools.

Read more about The Schools Our Keiki Deserve HERE>>>