Senator Shaheen: New federal education bill allows states to determine the best ways to address the needs of their community

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The Conway Daily Sun reported on the statewide response to the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal education reform bill that replaces No Child Left Behind. The bill gives states substantially more control over how schools are run, and has many in New Hampshire cheering. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) praised the bill, saying:

“As a former teacher and governor, I know that it’s the teachers and administrators on the ground in our local school districts that know how best to address the education needs of their communities…

“These are long overdue reforms to federal education policy that will give state governments and local school districts more control and flexibility… It’s very good news for the students of New Hampshire and education across the country,” Shaheen said in her closing remarks.

The senator hopes to see the nation’s STEM program flourish.

“We need more of our students to discover a passion for science, engineering, technology and math so the United States can continue to be a global economic leader,” Shaheen said. “My legislation will help inspire the next generation of American innovators.”

Senator Shaheen wrote the provision that expands STEM funding, including programs like FIRST robotics. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) also authored a provision that allows schools to use funds for mental health first-aid training programs.

New Hampshire Education Commissioner Virginia Barry praised the legislation’s provision to expand PACE, the innovative pilot program that reduces the number of statewide standardized tests students must take and replaces them with locally managed, competency-based assessments. The program is getting nationwide recognition and has expanded from four districts to eight in the current school year. Commissioner Barry praised the bill:

“This is a huge turning point in our country,” Barry said. “It moves the focus to the children. … This is a great opportunity to be sure students are growing and learning the competencies they need.”

Barry said the act will allow educators in the Granite State to “New Hampshireize” tests. “This gives us an opportunity to develop an accountability system that meets all the needs of our students.”

Read the full article here.