July 17, 2013
The Honorable John Kline
Chairman, Education and the Workforce Committee
Dear Chairman Kline:
On behalf of America’s business leaders, I am writing to express our concern with H.R. 5, The Student Success Act, legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, values the critical role America’s K-12 education system plays in preparing all students for life after high school, which may eventually include employment in our members’ companies and their suppliers.
We strongly believe ESEA needs to be reauthorized. Waivers – though understandably granted in the absence of congressional action – are not the appropriate way to update and change education legislation.
However, we believe H.R. 5 must be significantly improved before it can earn the BRT’s full support. While some parts of the bill are in line with Business Roundtable priorities, accountability at all levels of the system is critical and the bill is not strong enough on school-level accountability. We need to ensure the high school diploma can be trusted by postsecondary educators and employers to mean that graduates are ready for college or workforce training and employment.
In addition, the Business Roundtable opposes any amendments to further limit the accountability provisions of H.R 5. In particular, an amendment to limit the number of times a child is tested to just three times in their elementary and secondary years would prevent states, districts, schools and parents from using all available resources and data to focus their efforts on improving student achievement for all children – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. We will also oppose any amendment to remove the provisions in H.R. 5 that provide support for state-led efforts to measure the performance of teachers, in part, based on the academic performance of the children they teach.
We appreciate your efforts to move reauthorization forward and urge you to strengthen the accountability provisions of the bill so that all students graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed.
President, Business Roundtable