Conference Report on S. 1177, Student Success Act

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 2, 2015
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Education


Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of the Every Student Succeeds Act. I want to thank Chairmen ALEXANDER and KLINE and Ranking Members MURRAY and SCOTT for their yearlong work on this bill.

At its heart, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is a civil rights law based on a simple, yet powerful, promise made to all American children. It is a promise that, no matter where you live, what you look like, or what resources you have, you deserve a quality education.

Unfortunately, No Child Left Behind's one-size-fits-all approach derailed the fulfillment of this promise by creating an untenable environment of excessive, high-stakes testing that undermines educators' ability to serve their students.

While not perfect, the Every Student Succeeds Act is a substantial improvement that takes us one step closer to delivering on the promise of a quality education.

ESSA will provide schools with the resources and guidelines they need to deliver on this promise by directing resources to the children most in need and allowing school districts the flexibility to use title IV funds in a way that best works for their students.

As someone who has dedicated my life to dropout prevention, I am overjoyed to see this bill includes my amendment allowing title IV funds to be used for dropout prevention and reentry programs. But this is just the first step for our children.

It is the champions of our children's education--the teachers, the parents, the principals, and the mentors--who will create an environment of learning. That environment will ensure that our children's hearts and minds are positively shaped by our collective wisdom, our support, and our love.

I want to thank the teachers and parents across our Nation and especially in Florida for their work and commitment.

I urge my colleagues to support this conference report and stand united for a single purpose: our children.