Senate Passes ESSA, President Obama to Sign Bill into Law Tomorrow, Dec. 10

LegislativeUpdateChangeTheTextEachTimeAndTheDateV3 Dec9

On Weds. Dec. 9, the Senate approved the bill to reauthorize No Child Left Behind by a vote of 85 to 12, and President Obama is expected to sign the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law tomorrow, ending the seven year effort to replace the widely unpopular 2002 federal education statute with a new law that provides much more power back to the states and local districts.

The 12 Senators voting against the bill were Sens. Roy Blunt (MO), Mike Crapo (ID), Steve Daines (MT), Jeff Flake (AZ), Mike Lee (UT), Jerry Moran (KS) , Rand Paul (KY), James Risch (ID), Ben Sasse (NE), Tim Scott (SC), Richard Shelby (AL) and David Vitter (LA). The three presidential candidates, Sens. Cruz, Rubio and Sanders, did not vote.

Last week, the House passed the bill by a vote of 369 to 64 on Wednesday, December 2, to approve the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The ESSA consolidates a number of programs (including the Math and Science Partnership) into a block grant to the states. Although it maintains the federal rule on testing (once every year in grades 3-8 for ELA and math and three times in science), the new law provide more opportunities for districts and states to develop and provide STEM opportunities to students and professional learning to teachers.

Read more here and here.

For background information on the bill to reauthorize No Child Left Behind and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) please read this blog.

Jodi Peterson is Assistant Executive Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Chair of the STEM Education Coalition. e-mail Peterson at; follow her on Twitter at @stemedadvocate.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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