Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) considers the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, a bi-partisan education proposal put forth by Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Ranking Member Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03) of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and leaders of the Congressional Tri-Caucus -- comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) -- released the following statements calling for needed improvements to the current proposal:
Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03), Ranking Member of House Committee on Education and the Workforce:
"While we recognize this bill as an important step in the process, improvements must be made to ensure that the needs of our most vulnerable students are met. ESEA represents the single largest federal resource for schools and school districts that teach our most vulnerable students, and yet resources alone won't close achievement gaps. ESEA must require action to improve academic achievement of low-income and minority students, students with disabilities, and students who do not speak English when achievement gaps persist."
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:
"Today, the Senate HELP Committee has an historic opportunity to fulfill the intent of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)--to guarantee that every child has the unequivocal right to an equitable education. While the bi-partisan Senate proposal is an important step forward, more must be done to address the inequities that continue to exist in our current education system. Subgroup accountability must be strengthened, and schools with low-performing subgroups must be identified and supported. Data must be meaningfully disaggregated, and resources must be equitably distributed, including closing the comparability loophole. These measures will ensure that the civil rights of our all nation's children--regardless of their zip code, family wealth, race, or background--are protected."
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), CBC Chair:
"Education is a vital key to success in our country and serves as a great equalizer, yet African Americans continue to lag behind when it comes to educational attainment. We must work to ensure that states set high standards and goals so that students graduate from high school college- and career-ready to compete in the 21st Century workforce. We have a responsibility to work to close the achievement gap, which continues to persist in our communities. We need a strong ESEA as it is vital to ensuring schools are held accountable to all students."
Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (CA-38), CHC Chair:
"The education bill brought forward by Senators Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander is a good first step towards reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Latino community has a big stake in this conversation given that more than one in five students enrolled in our nation's classrooms are Latino. As this legislation advances, we must ensure that Latino, English-language learners, and migrant students are not cheated out of a quality education and that educators are well supported. From accountability to data collection and resource equity, ESEA should be reauthorized in the strongest and most comprehensive way possible."