Ideas. Action. Results.

Former Governors: Senate Bill Good Step Forward on ESEA, More Work Needed

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Washington, D.C.– The members of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Governors’ Council, former governors Mike Beebe (D-AR), Jim Douglas (R-VT), Christine Gregoire (D-WA), Linda Lingle (R-HI) and Sonny Perdue (R-GA), today released the following statements as the Senate begins debate on its Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill:

“We are encouraged to see the Senate’s bipartisan ESEA reauthorization bill come to the floor for debate. We commend Sens. Alexander (R-TN) and Murray (D-WA) for guiding the bill to this point through an inclusive, consensus-driven process,” said Gregoire. “Our nation’s K-12 law is broken, and it is well past time we fixed it.”

“The current state of affairs—with education policy being created via Department of Education waivers—is inefficient, inconsistent and unsustainable,” said Perdue. “States need more discretion to design education policies that work for them and more predictability in what’s expected of them.”

“More stakeholders need to be included in the development of those education plans,” said Douglas. “Governors need a clear role. Governors often get blamed for the quality of schools even though they usually have very little say in the state’s education system.”

“Governors are in a unique position to bridge early childhood programs, K-12 education, workforce agencies and postsecondary institutions to help create a more cohesive and coherent education policy,” said Lingle. “We hope a final bill will allow governors to play that important role.”

“We recognize we may not get all we want from a final ESEA reauthorization bill, but we cannot miss this opportunity,” said Beebe. “We must fix our nation’s broken education system and rebalance the federal-state partnership around elementary and secondary education.”

KEYWORDS: CHRISTINE GREGOIRE, ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT, JIM DOUGLAS, LINDA LINGLE, MIKE BEEBE, SONNY PERDUE