Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Congressional Republicans Could Set The Stage To Leave Children Behind

This week House and Senate Republicans set out to re-implement the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—also known as No Child Left Behind. This act gives all K-12 students a better chance at a quality public education  regardless of  economic status and/or where they live.

Unfortunately on Wednesday July 8th, the House passed H.R. 5, its version of the reauthorization bill that cuts federal funding from the most at-risk students and takes things a step backwards to the days when these very students and their communities were ignored.

The most damaging provision in the House bill is a “portability” provision, which eliminates the targeting of federal funding to schools and districts with the highest concentrations of students living in poverty. What that provision does is divert federal funding earmarked for schools with the most low-income students into richer districts. This will result in the most impoverished districts' federal resources being cut as large as 74 percent, while the most affluent districts could receive an average of more than $290 dollars per student.

The Senate is also working on a moderate version of ESEA reauthorization this week. It's known as the Every Child Achieves Act.

The Senate’s bill takes addresses over testing and aims to retain investments in research-based innovation. The  Senate also adopted an important amendment that allows schools to use Title 1 funds to create fiscal assistance teams designed to help schools spend their money efficiently.

The Senate bill the Senate bill does not include a portability provision, but a portability amendment is on the horizon. If a portability bill becomes a part of the Senate's proposal, it could prove damaging to the very demographic the overall bill seeks to serve.

Quality education should be available to all children regardless of their economic situation or where they live. Law makers need to be encouraged by their constituents to return bills and measures that guarantee every child has equal access to an education that will be the foundation of a quality future and way of life.

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