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U.S. Senate Education Bill Could Impair Recent Gains in Graduation Rates, Says Alliance President Gov. Bob Wise

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the Every Child Achieves Act, legislation 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:

“Today marked the beginning of the end for NCLB and its one-size fits all mandates. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Every Child Achieves Act could start a major retreat from the recent historic increases in high school graduation rates.

“Although the Every Child Achieves Act requires states to collect and report data on schools and provides extensive flexibility to states on how to respond, it does not actually require states to act. Instead, it permits states to decide when, if, and where to intervene. That’s like equipping the fire department with new tools and alarms, then letting it choose which fires to put out.

“With more than 1,200 high schools still graduating less than two-thirds of their students, now is not the time to be tough on data and weak on action. Of the more than 1.1 million students attending these schools, most are students of color and low-income students.

“I appreciate efforts by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy, and Tammy Baldwin that would have held states responsible for improving graduation rates in these low-performing schools. These proposals would have delivered much needed attention and resources to help African American, Latino, low-income students, and other traditionally underserved students graduate from high school prepared for college and a career.

“As the Every Child Achieves Act moves to the Senate floor, I urge all Senators to work to address these shortcomings.”


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.