Today, Congresswoman Katherine Clark offered praise for the Every Student Succeeds Act -- the nation's K-12 education reform bill -- clearing the way to become law. Clark, who serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, was tapped by Democratic leadership to be 1 of 7 House Democratic conferees to negotiate with the U.S. Senate on the final draft of the bill.
A former school committee member and state lawmaker known for her focus on public education, Clark has pushed forward her bills and amendments that prioritize closing achievement gaps and expanding early education. The final education reform bill incorporates a number of Clark's proposed reforms, including the Homeless and Foster Youth Achievement Act, Supportive School Climate Act, and the Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Act. Clark also successfully pushed for investments in early learning through Preschool Development Grants, as well as funding for school psychologists, counselors, and social workers.
"This bill improves on the deeply flawed No Child Left Behind by empowering teachers and protecting resources for schools in underserved communities. It ensures accountability and equality of access while reducing reliance on high stakes tests. It supports critical trauma-informed education for students living with toxic stress and violence. For the first time, we have a bill that invests in early learning with Preschool Development Grants. While not perfect, this legislation brings us closer to our fundamental promise to every child -- that every child gets a fair shot at their dream."
The previous version of the K-12 bill, known as the No Child Left Behind Act, was passed in 2001, and has since been the subject of criticism for failing to achieve its goals.