WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Student Success Act, legislation to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is currently known as No Child Left Behind. In response, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement:
“The Student Success Act is heavy on the federal government identifying problems but light on remedies. It also lacks the necessary support for college- and career-ready standards; eliminates or cuts funding for key programs; and omits accountability and improvement provisions for the nation’s high schools.
“Education content standards form the basis of the nation’s education system, yet the Student Success Act does not require or encourage states to set high standards that ensure students graduate from high school ready for college and a career. Without high standards, all students will not be prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce.
“The Student Success Act does not support high-quality assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards. Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, the federal government has provided financial support to states in order to implement high-quality assessments, but this bill defunds the existing Grants for State Assessments program. Resources from this program are needed now more than ever as states transition to higher-quality, state-developed assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards.
“The Alliance appreciates the bill’s inclusion of the adjusted cohort rate graduation rate requirement for calculating and reporting purposes. However, the Student Success Act lacks any graduation rate accountability and fails to ensure adequate reform in low-performing high schools, including the approximately 2,000 high schools with graduation rates below 65 percent. In addition, the bill eliminates funding for the High School Graduation Initiative, the only federal program dedicated solely to strengthening high schools.
“The federal government has a limited but critical role to play in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to receive an education that prepares them for college and a career, and one that is supportive and flexible while upholding key protections for underserved students. Unfortunately, the Student Success Act does not include the necessary safeguards to ensure that all students receive a high-quality education.”
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal education policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. www.all4ed.org
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