NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE STATEMENT ON THE EVERY CHILD ACHIEVES ACT
Senate Committee ESEA Rewrite Fails Civil Rights Test
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, issued the following statement following passage of the Every Child Achieves Act in the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee:
“This month we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the nation’s leading civil rights education law the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Unfortunately, the bill that passed the Senate HELP Committee last week shatters this legacy and undermines the core civil rights foundation of this law. While we appreciate that senators from both sides of the aisle are committed to working together, in its current form, the Every Child Achieves Act does not protect our most vulnerable children nor move us toward a more equitable education system. Instead, it weakens accountability and hinders the federal government’s efforts to ensure every child is ready for college, work and life. Therefore, the National Urban League cannot support this bill in its current form.”
“While the Every Child Achieves Act enhances data collection and reporting, it does not include a requirement that states act to close achievement gaps and turn around persistently underperforming schools. Instead, as the bill is written, states can decide whether or not to respond. Further, the bill limits the federal government’s ability to enforce the law if state policies fall short or fail to support student success. A revamped bill must compel states to act when low-performing schools or categories of students within those schools are struggling. And resources and investments must be equitably distributed according to greatest need. We urge senators to uphold the ESEA’s civil rights protections, and urge members to vote against the bill unless these changes are made on the senate floor.”
“Congress must remain true to the spirit of this civil rights law; otherwise, we risk leaving even more children behind,” Morial said.
Read the National Urban League’s vision for an ESEA for the 21st Century here.