Nation's Governors Endorse Every Student Succeeds Act

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In advance of the House and Senate votes on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the National Governors Association (NGA) today announced its full endorsement of the bill. The endorsement is a unique move—one not taken in nearly 20 years—and demonstrates governors’ strong bipartisan support for the legislation.

Governors have long advocated for a clear bipartisan law that restores balance to the state-federal education relationship. Earlier this year, they released a plan for reauthorization to guide Congress in its efforts to fix an unworkable law, including enhancing governors’ role, improving early childhood education and ensuring that all students—regardless of disability, race, economic status or English proficiency—receive a 21st century education.

“This is a significant step in the right direction in our work to ensure state control of education policy. This bill reinforces that accountability and responsibility for K-12 education rests with the states,” said NGA Chair Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “It is a clear example of cooperative federalism, which is a core tenant of this association. It emphasizes that states and localities have the freedom to provide students the world-class education they deserve.”

“We want to ensure that every student receives a strong foundation for future success,” said NGA Vice Chair Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. “ESSA will help provide that foundation by facilitating great work at the state level, like the bipartisan committee we established in Virginia to propose innovative testing reforms. This bill proves that a high-quality education for all and state flexibility can and must coexist.”

“The Every Student Succeeds Act received this historic endorsement because it underpins the work and innovation taking place in the states to increase educational opportunity for all students, and because current federal requirements are unworkable,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, chair of the NGA Education and Workforce Committee. “Governors have been working diligently with Congress to ensure that our priorities are included in reforming federal education law. We greatly appreciate the hard work and leadership of the bill’s sponsors.”

“Every state, school and classroom needs the certainty and fairness of a flexible education law,” said Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, vice chair of the committee. “We support this bill because it provides governors a central role in implementation and governance and gives us the flexibility to shape our schools and prepare our students from early childhood into the workforce.”

The conference report for the Every Student Succeeds Act is expected to be voted on by the House this week. It will then move to the Senate.


The National Governors Association (NGA), founded in 1908, is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the states, territories and commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

Jodi Omear
National Governor's Association