AASA Issues Statement on the ESSA Negotiated Rulemaking Process


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – April 22, 2016 – AASA, The School Superintendents Association, released the following statement today to follow up to the conclusion of the negotiated rulemaking process for certain provisions within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Suwanee, Ga., represented the nation’s public school leaders and board members on the negotiated rulemaking committee:
“The negotiated rulemaking process was a deliberate and engaging exercise in participatory democracy. The stakeholders at the table—both negotiators and alternates—represented a broad set of perspectives, but also a shared, consistent commitment to our nation’s students and serving them equitably. As a result we were able to find middle ground on the tough issues related to assessment. I trust that when the final version of the proposed regulations is released by the U.S. Department of Education it will reflect the true compromises reached on assessment issues that impact millions of America’s children.

“Although we did not reach consensus on the 'supplement, not supplant’ provision of the law, critically important concerns were voiced and duly discussed among the negotiators and alternates. As it proposes regulations for this substantial component of ESSA, I urge USED to consider the variety of ideas and options that were voiced in our deliberations. In the spirit of negotiated rulemaking, the department's proposal must not only reflect the robust conversations of the committee, but also follow the law and acknowledge the implementation challenges facing state and local education agencies who are charged with educating all children well in our nation's public schools.”

Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director, AASA:
“AASA applauds the negotiated rulemaking committee for its efforts. We commend the negotiators for their efforts on reaching consensus on the assessment provisions and look forward to the opportunity to provide additional feedback to their proposal during the rulemaking process.

“The ‘supplement, not supplant’ proposal did not reach consensus. It is clear that while there is universal commitment to ensuring and expanding equity in the implementation of ESSA, the path forward in doing so is not as clear. As the voice representing the nation’s public school superintendents, the individuals tasked with running the systems that serve our nation’s more than 50 million public education students, we are deeply familiar with the intricacies of school funding and funding formulas, and are uniquely positioned to detail the specific qualities that must be considered in supporting district efforts to serve all students while accounting for the unique needs of the communities and students in most need.

“The underlying statute of ESSA is clear in its call for schools and districts to consider these funding realities as they implement ESSA and strive to improve struggling schools. Our nation’s school superintendents are cognizant of and committed to this responsibility. We look forward to working with USED in crafting regulations that are consistent with the scope and intent of ESSA.”

For specific questions about ESSA implementation, please contact Noelle Ellerson, AASA associate executive director, policy and advocacy, at nellerson@aasa.org.

About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.