P21 Commends Every Child Achieves Act Bipartisan Focus on Equity, Innovation and Skills as Necessary Update to ESEA

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P21, the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, strongly supports the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) sponsored by Senators Alexander and Murray as a balanced, bipartisan approach to updating the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). P21 strongly supports the bill’s commitment to equity, innovation of new assessments, high quality early learning, and equipping students with knowledge and skills required for postsecondary success.

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With ECAA, the next ESEA must not only continue, but also build on, the law’s historic commitment to promoting educational equity, by ensuring that all students graduate ready for college and career and civic life.

Today P21, the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, the leading organization uniting business, education, and government leaders to advance meaningful teaching learning for all students, expressed support for the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) sponsored by Senators Alexander and Murray as a balanced, bipartisan approach to updating the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). P21 strongly supports the bill’s commitment to equity, innovation, and emphasis on equipping students with the knowledge and skills required for postsecondary success.        

In the 50 years since Congress created the ESEA, the concept of educational equity – what it means to be adequately prepared for life after high school - has expanded, driven by incredible global, economic, community, and social changes. The ESEA must evolve to reflect this new landscape, including more effectively supporting states, districts, and schools working to ensure that all students graduate ready for the rigors of higher education, complex employment, and international understanding and engagement. Key ECAA components appropriately recognize that school must equip students with deep content knowledge and relevant skills.

P21 strongly supports the ECAA’s accountability strategy, which focuses on baseline measures while supporting a range of state determined indicators. Requiring continued measurement of all schools, while leaving significantly greater discretion to state and local judgment and decision-making, will create much needed space for innovation.

P21 supports the Senators’ decision to establish an Innovative Assessment and Accountability Authority, which includes an express focus on funding development of innovative assessments capable of measuring students critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communications skills.

Finally, P21 strongly supports the recognition of the critical importance of high quality early learning to students’ later academic and life success. Skills acquisition begins early and helps students master core academic content and retain what they learn. The next ESEA must do more to promote kindergarten readiness, and P21 urges expanding access to quality and impactful early-learning programs in the final bill.

P21 urges the HELP Committee to maintain and expand the bill’s emphasis on skills acquisition as a core-learning objective for states, districts, and schools, and support the use of new approaches to assessment, including new competency based, performance based, and other models that include a focus on measuring students’ knowledge and skills. The next ESEA must not only continue, but also build on, the law’s historic commitment to promoting educational equity, by ensuring that all students graduate ready for college and career and civic life.

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P21 recognizes that all learners need educational experiences in school and beyond, from cradle to career, to build knowledge and skills for success in a globally and digitally interconnected world. Representing over 5 million members of the global workforce, P21 unites business, government and education leaders from the U.S. and abroad to advance evidence-based education policy and practice and to make innovative teaching and learning a reality for all. Learn more at http://www.P21.org and @P21Learning

P21 Members: American Camp Association, American Federation of Teachers, Apple Inc., Asia Society, Bahcesehir K-12 Schools, Cable Impacts Foundation, The College Board, Common Sense Media, Crayola, Destination Imagination, Duck Learning, EdLeader21, EF Education First, Education Networks of America, Fisher-Price, Ford Motor Company Fund, Future Problem Solving Program International, Gale Cengage Learning, Goddard Systems Inc., Intel Corporation, Learning.com, LEGO Education, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Education Association, PBS, Pearson, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, VIF International Education, and The Walt Disney Company.

P21 Leadership States: Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

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Tatyana Warrick
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Partnership for 21st Century Skills
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