STATEMENT: CAP’s Carmel Martin on Passage of the Every Child Achieves Act
Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Executive Vice President for Policy Carmel Martin released the following statement today after the Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act, legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA. The law was mostly recently reauthorized in 2001 as No Child Left Behind.
It’s important to remember how far this bill has come from its original starting point in January. That proposed legislation would have taken away our ability to target funding to the poorest communities and all but eliminated any federal guardrails to ensure that all kids have the resources and supports they need. Thankfully, the full Senate rejected attempts to reinsert these provisions into the bill. After months of work, the bill now requires states to meaningfully measure academic progress for all public schools—including how well they serve disadvantaged populations, including minorities, students with disabilities, English language learners, and students from low-income families. Compared to the House’s partisan approach—which fails to provide resources and supports to those who need it most—the Senate bill represents a vast improvement.
However, there remain several critical issues that must be addressed, and the original civil rights focus of the ESEA must be maintained in any bill that goes to the president’s desk. As the Senate and House bills are negotiated toward a final reauthorization proposal, it is imperative that Congress not undermine the federal government’s ability to hold states accountable for ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being well spent. Students—particularly at-risk students—should all be able to receive an excellent education that includes meaningful investments in high-quality early childhood education. Requiring states to take action in their consistently worst-performing schools and when any group of students fails to meet academic goals must be part of the final legislation.
Click here to view CAP’s recent work on ESEA reauthorization.
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