WASHINGTON, DC (July 22, 2015) – National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial has issued the following statement on passage of the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177):
“Over the last two days we have borne witness to one of the most critical debates to touch the Senate floor -- the future of civil rights protections in education. Today the National Urban League is deeply disappointed that the Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) in its current form. This law does not include key civil rights protections and will leave children behind.
“At the beginning of the reauthorization debate of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) the National Urban League and 40 other civil rights and education advocacy organizations came together in coalition to advocate and stand a comprehensive bill that includes the priorities of the civil rights community. We stood together to urge Congress to promote equity, strengthen accountability and maintain the federal government's vital role in K-12 education.
“Education is a fundamental civil right that should be equitable and available to all. Across the nation students from low-income families, students of color, English learning students and students with disabilities face inequitable education experiences every day. Without inclusion of civil rights protections found in the original ESEA that became law 50 years ago, ECAA in its current form will leave more students behind. As Congress moves to conference they must ensure that every child has the same opportunity to succeed and uphold the civil rights legacy of the ESEA. Members of Congress must include strong accountability, meaningful resource equity and oversight from the federal government to ensure that every child is ready for college and career. Education is a means to economic empowerment. Without a strong educational opportunity, the country’s most vulnerable students will be left without an opportunity to ever succeed.
“We applaud the bipartisan leadership of Senators Murphy , Booker, Warren, Coon, Durbin, Hirono, Heller, Kirk, Reed, Baldwin, Brown and Gardner to include civil rights priorities within ECAA. Nearly half the Senate supported amendments that advanced our principles. We look forward to working with these Senators to ensure their inclusion in a final bill. The National Urban League remains steadfast in its support of a comprehensive bill that includes civil rights priorities and moves the nation towards a more equitable education system. “