81st Annual Meeting: June 21-24, 2013 in Las Vegas

  U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS PRIORITIES FOR THE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT REAUTHORIZATION

WHEREAS, the delay of reauthorizing Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has been prolonged for 6 years and it is time for Congress to act; and

WHEREAS, ESEA can, as it has in the past, set national priorities states should follow, which must focus on accountability, performance, and fair funding; and

WHEREAS, students are often forced to attend the lowest-performing schools simply because of their zip code and have limited options to enroll elsewhere; and

WHEREAS, some of the worst performing schools have been underperforming for years – and yet these schools remain open and continue to do a disservice to our children; and

WHEREAS, with the exception of very few subject areas – specifically secondary mathematics – teachers with an advanced degree in the subject they teach are no more effective than those without such degrees; and

WHEREAS, lower-performing students and schools are assigned a disproportionate number of ineffective teachers, highlighting the inequitable access lower-performing students and schools have to effective teachers; and

WHEREAS, students of highly effective teachers gain five to six more months of learning than students of ineffective teachers; research has shown that students who are in the classroom of ineffective teachers for three consecutive years are unlikely to ever catch up to their peers; and

WHEREAS, the current ESEA emphasizes absolute school and district performance data and does not incorporate student growth in achievement into accountability systems; and

WHEREAS, the requirement in the 2001 reauthorization of ESEA to report disaggregated data highlighted stark achievement gaps that exist amongst several subgroups of our students; and

WHEREAS, disaggregated data by student subgroup is necessary to drive data-informed decision-making and to hold all states, districts, and schools accountable for student learning; and

WHEREAS, a precondition to any education reform effort is sufficient and fairly distributed funding based on student and school need, and researchers and lawsuits continue to highlight significant funding inequities across school districts nationwide; and

WHEREAS, fair and adequate funding will help ensure students have access to effective teachers and the resources they need to develop the skills necessary for success in college and a career; and

WHEREAS, ESEA has the ability to hold low-performing schools accountable to the needs of the families they serve; and

WHEREAS, the members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors have previously adopted resolutions that call for the reauthorization of ESEA,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the following priorities for the reauthorization of the ESEA in addition to those already adopted by this body:

    ·         Require states design accountability systems that collect and report school and district performance data based on student growth in achievement in addition to absolute achievement scores; and

    ·         Continue and strengthen accountability requirements for districts by requiring all states to publicly report disaggregated data by student subgroup and to require districts to set annual, measurable performance targets for all students and subgroups; and

    ·         Develop intervention plans for the lowest-performing schools (which varies by state, but is commonly characterized as the bottom 5% of the state’s lowest-performing schools) that focus on catalyzing student achievement through turnaround or the creation of new schools; and

    ·         Ensure schools are empowered to make personnel decisions focused on performance – as opposed to measures that research shows do not correlate with teacher effectiveness – by instituting performance-based evaluation systems in lieu of the Highly Qualified Teachers requirement; and

    ·         Require states to ensure districts maximize opportunities and resources to develop and support teachers in improving their practice; and

    ·         Require states to publicly report data regarding the number of teachers at each level of effectiveness by school and district; and

    ·         Fully utilize funding intended to support students from low-income families by encouraging states and districts to distribute funding to schools based on students’ needs, by providing schools spending flexibility, and by focusing accountability measures on student achievement; and

    ·         Ensure reauthorization of ESEA supports the forward progress of those states and districts that have approved ESEA waivers.


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2013