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Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) Reauthorization Bill

As Tennessee’s Parent Training and Information Center we want to take every opportunity to give families current information so they can make informed choices. There are often times when the laws that protect the rights of students with disabilities are revised and during those times there is opportunity for parents and family members to give input into the process.    

We encourage parents and family members to speak up about what is important for to their family and children. Therefore, we are providing this information from the Tennessee Disability Coalition regarding the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA). STEP is not lobbying or trying to persuade you to take any specific action, but rather providing you with information so you can determine if you would like to provide input into this process.    

If you have any questions about the material contained in this email, please contact Sarah Sampson with the Tennessee Disability Coalition at


Dear Parents of Students with Disabilities,  

We need a bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill that sets high expectations and promotes meaningful state accountability for educating students with disabilities!   

The Senate ESEA bill is expected to be debated and voted on the week of April 13th by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Tennessee's Senator Lamar Alexander serves as the Chair of the HELP Committee and needs to hear from us.

Face to face meetings make a big impact. The Tennessee Disability Coalition would like to schedule meetings at Senator Alexander's local Tennessee offices for parents of students with disabilities to share their family's story and support for a strong ESEA bill.    

If you would consider joining a meeting at one of Senator Alexander's local Tennessee offices, please contact Sarah at the Tennessee Disability Coalition at:   

To ensure that students with disabilities exit school prepared for college and careers, we need a bipartisan ESEA reauthorization bill that is built on a framework of the following core components.   

The ESEA Bill must:

1)     Ensure that achievement for ALL students, for accountability purposes, will be measured against the state academic content standards on annual state assessments, NOT based on the Individualized Education Plan (IEP)   

2)     Ensure that parents are involved in the decision of whether their child will take an alternate assessment (this means that the expectations for achievement on the grade-level content will be different e.g. modifications to the difficulty of the content, in addition to accommodations, would be permitted)   

3)     Limit the use of alternate assessments to 1% of all students assessed (which corresponds to about 10% of students with disabilities)   

4)      Ensure that students with disabilities, including students who take an alternate assessment, participate in and have the opportunity to make progress in the grade-level general education curriculum, as well as have the opportunity to earn a regular diploma   

5)     Require states to develop challenging targets for student achievement and interventions to address achievement gaps between students with and without disabilities (e.g. the use of universal design for learning principles would address the gap while benefitting all students)   

An ESEA bill with high expectations that includes these core requirements will improve outcomes for students with disabilities. We need your help advocating for a bill that sets up Tennesseans for success!  

You can email Senator Alexander to express your support at this link:

Thank you for your support of this important issue.    

Tennessee Disability Coalition

Phone: 615-383-9442 

955 Woodland Street

Nashville, TN 37206

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