WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, legislation to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act. In response, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement:
“A new education law to replace the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has been at the top of educators’ wish lists for many years. NCLB deserves credit for spotlighting gaps in achievement and graduation rates between white students and students of color, but after thirteen years, it is a DVD in a Netflix world.
“The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) maintains requirements around high school graduation rates that have helped the nation’s graduation rate reach an all-time high while reducing the number of dropouts by nearly 30 percent. To build on this progress, ESSA provides accountability and support to high schools that do not graduate one-third or more of their students. In addition, the legislation requires school districts to provide support to traditionally underserved students who consistently demonstrate low performance. Finally, funds are set aside for schools and districts to implement evidence-based interventions.
“With more than 4,000 students still dropping out every school day, I am pleased that ESSA keeps the nation’s foot on the high school graduation rate pedal while also providing states and districts with a great deal of flexibility and responsibility. States and districts will decide how to act, but action must take place. With states in the driver’s seat, I look forward to supporting their work to prepare all students for postsecondary education and the workforce.
“This legislation was only possible due to a level of bipartisanship that, in recent years, has become all too rare. I applaud the work of Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), House education committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA).
“The work of these committee leaders was reinforced by the leadership of their colleagues in Congress. In particular, I would like to thank U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Rob Portman (R-OH) for their commitment to the nation’s high schools and their work to ensure that ESSA provides low-performing high schools with the support they need to make every child a graduate.”
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.