S. 1177, The Every Student Succeeds Act

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 10, 2015
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: K-12 Education


Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Conference Report for S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bill which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) through 2020 and replaces the misguided No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy.

This bill makes important changes to ESEA by including student and school supports in state accountability plans, supporting responsible efforts to reduce over-testing, and requiring states to provide the public with information on school discipline and expulsion rates, which we know disproportionately impacts students of color. S. 1177 also maintains critical provisions about overall student performance by setting clear goals for achievement and graduation rates, targeting funds to at-risk children such as English Language Learners, and helping states to increase teacher quality by providing on-going professional development.

Yet I am concerned that this bill shifts the majority of power and oversight from the federal government to the states and does not do enough to protect disadvantaged, minority, LGBT, low-income, and migrant students. A strong Federal role is critical to ensuring that minority and underserved students get the support they need to succeed. And as a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am concerned that this bill fails to include a requirement to disaggregate data within groups of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) students. This is critical to ensuring that AAPI students receive the support they need. Moreover, S. 1177 fails to include strong accountability measures to ensure that schools address resource equity gaps.

As Members of Congress, we have a shared obligation to ensure that our education system provides equity and excellence for all students, closes the achievement gap, and prepares our students for a 21st century workforce.