WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce is considering the Student Success Act, legislation introduced by Chairman John Kline (R-MN) to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In response, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement:
“Any attempt to rewrite NCLB must preserve and protect, not fix and forget.
“However, in their rush to fix NCLB, House Republicans are forgetting the safeguards and support that the law provides to the nation’s most disadvantaged students. Instead, changes to the law should reflect what the nation has learned since NCLB passed, while preserving key protections for low-income students, students of color, and other underserved students.
“The problems with the Student Success Act are many. It largely removes the federal role in education and lacks the focus on underserved students that is necessary for all students to graduate from high school prepared for college and a career. It fails to support college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments aligned with those standards. It does not require interventions when traditionally underserved students consistently demonstrate low performance and it would repeal current policy that targets the nation’s lowest-performing high schools.
“The Alliance appreciates the Student Success Act’s usage of the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, which tracks and follows students throughout their high school career, but the bill does not hold states and schools responsible for improving high school graduation rates—nor does it target resources to the nation’s more than 1,200 high schools with graduation rates at or below 67 percent, which serve more than 1 million students. In fact, the bill eliminates funding for the High School Graduation Initiative, which is the only federal program dedicated solely to strengthening high schools.
“The alternative bill offered by Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) is a much more thoughtful approach that builds on the lessons learned from NCLB while maintaining the federal government’s fifty-year commitment to education as a civil right.
“Mr. Scott’s approach would require states to set performance, growth, and high school graduation targets for all students, including low-income students, students of color, and other subgroups of students, to ensure all students graduate ready for college and a career. It includes accountability and improvement provisions for low-performing high schools, including those with low graduation rates, and maintains funding for critical programs that support assessment development, school improvement, comprehensive literacy plans, education technology, and dual enrollment.
“I urge the Congress to move forward with a bipartisan reauthorization of ESEA that reflects the priorities and policies included within Mr. Scott’s bill.”
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org