America Forward Applauds Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act

Bipartisan bill reauthorizes Elementary and Secondary Education Act, improving K-12 Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. | December 8, 2015 – The America Forward Coalition and America Forward’s Executive Director, Deborah Smolover, issued the following statements today after the Senate passed a bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (S.1177) to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and improve K-12 education. The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 85 to 12. On December 2nd, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 359 to 64.

“America Forward and the more than 70 leading innovative organizations that make up the America Forward Coalition, commend both the United States Senate and House of Representatives for passing the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA makes significant progress on many critical America Forward Coalition federal education priorities, including the inclusion of language to encourage effective external partnerships, rewarding results by investing in what works, promoting innovative solutions, supporting learner centered systems that personalize learning, pushing forward on accountability and transparency, and ensuring all students have effective teachers and leaders.” – Members of the America Forward Coalition

“Sending this bill to the President’s desk is a critical step in updating our nation’s education laws. ESSA will go a long way to advancing America Forward’s goal of ensuring that all children, whatever their background, receive a first-class education, one that leads to economic security and the chance for a successful life, America Forward was very pleased to work closely with bipartisan legislators, and our network partners, to advance and shape several key elements of the legislation.” – Deborah Smolover, Executive Director, America Forward

The bipartisan ESSA takes the following steps to advance on the America Forward Coalition’s key K-12 education priorities, including:

  • Consistent focus on investing in what works and spurring even greater innovation – specifically its emphasis on promoting “evidence-based” policies and practices, its support for Pay for Success initiatives, and the inclusion of the Education Innovation and Research program.

  • Essential provisions that will ensure all students are put in the best position to succeed, including support for the creation of personalized learning environments, a pilot program for innovative assessments (including competency-based assessments), leveraging partnerships with community-based organizations, and a new comprehensive center that will serve students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

  • Strong support for teachers and school leaders by maintaining the Teacher and School Leader Incentive program and creating the School Leader Recruitment and Support program, along with providing greater support for states to carry out activities to recruit, train, and support high-quality school leaders.

  • Requirements that states establish ambitious goals for all students and subgroups of students, continue annual testing, and utilize evidence-based interventions to improve school success.

  • Focus on the pathway from high school to postsecondary education by ensuring that states provide critical information regarding postsecondary enrollment to schools, educators, and parents through school report cards.

AMERICA FORWARD is the Washington, DC-based nonpartisan policy initiative of national venture philanthropy fund New Profit. America Forward seeks to break down the barriers between all people and opportunity in America. America Forward unites social innovators with policymakers to advance a public policy agenda that champions innovative and effective solutions to our country’s most pressing social problems.

THE AMERICA FORWARD COALITION is a network of more than 70 innovative, impact-oriented organizations that foster innovation, identify more efficient and effective solutions, reward results, and catalyze cross-sector partnerships in education, early childhood, workforce development, youth development, and poverty alleviation. Our Coalition members are achieving measurable outcomes in more than 14,500 communities across the country every day, touching the lives of nearly 8 million Americans each year. We believe that innovative policy approaches can transform these local results into national change and propel all of America forward. Together, the America Forward Coalition members have leveraged $1.5 billion for social innovation and have driven millions of federal resources toward programs that are achieving measurable results for those who need them most.

For more on America Forward, please visit

Click here to view America Forward’s 2016 Presidential Briefing Book.

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