As part of NAESP’s National Leaders Conference on Thursday, the Association and AASA kicked the day into gear with a Congressional Panel comprised of speakers from the U.S. House of Representatives. All three individuals discussed ESEA and current efforts to change several aspects of this sweeping piece of legislation.

Rep. Richard Hanna, R-New York, stated he trusted educators to know what is best in schools. He went on to say that many parents expect the schools to do everything and fail to do their part to educate their own children. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minnesota, comes from a teaching background and has worked under the requirements of NCLB. He stressed that assessing schools requires multiple measures and not just one test. He also mentioned that with all the talk regarding vouchers, he would like to see the outcome of the District of Columbia Public School system to determine whether there’s ample evidence that the voucher system works.

The final speaker was Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pennsylvania. He expressed a desire to see more control given to local governments and school districts regarding educational decisions. Thompson announced a new bill he took part in: HR 2485, the All Children are Equal (ACE) Act. This bill focuses on Title I funding and would use percentages instead of raw numbers to determine the need for funding.

After the panel, conference attendees continued with their legislative day by descending on Capitol Hill to meet with their local congressional representatives to discuss important educational issues.

—Tim Gallagher, Principal, Fire Prairie Middle School, Independence, Missouri