You may have heard that the the House of Representatives just passed the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which will update ESEA (and NCLB). The official statement from the USDOE can be found here:
USDOE STATEMENT, Arne Duncan: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-us-
FACT SHEET: Congress Acts to Fix No Child Left Behind: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/12/03/fact-sheet-congress-acts-fix-no-child-left-behind
Below is a press statement from NCLR (of which CABE is an affiliate), that outlines their analysis of ESSA. While there are some positive elements, there are many reasons for the CABE Community to continue to be vigilant.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:
December 2, 2015 Camila Gallardo
NCLR: Education Bill Takes an Important Step Forward for English Learners; Work Must Continue at State and Local Levels to Ensure its Success
Washington, D.C.—Today in a 359-to-64 vote overwhelmingly in favor, the House of Representatives passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a House/Senate conference report updating the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. NCLR (National Council of La Raza), our Affiliates and our partners have been actively engaged on this reauthorization effort. As a result of their passion and advocacy as well as the diligence of a bipartisan group of members of Congress, the final legislation makes important strides over current law, especially for English learners (ELs).
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of many organizations and members from both sides of the aisle, for the first time all states will be held accountable for how well EL students are performing in schools. This bill is not perfect, but it deserves support from our community—not only for the important steps forward it is taking on behalf of the nation’s 13 million Hispanic students, but for showing that members of Congress can come together in a bipartisan effort to enact critically needed legislation for the good of our country,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR.
Among key improvements, states must for the first time include ELs in the statewide accountability system and implement standard entry and exit criteria for the identification of these students. The ESSA also adds new reporting on long-term ELs and ELs with disabilities to show how these additional categories of students are performing. These changes stand to lift up the academic achievement of the nearly five million ELs enrolled in U.S. schools.
While NCLR is encouraged by these changes, we are apprehensive about the significant discretion and authority given to states and districts in this law to implement strong accountability systems, as well as allowing the EL definition to include those who have exited the program, which will mask true academic performance. NCLR and its partners in the civil rights and business communities, the state chiefs, the Department of Education, as well as NCLR’s extensive network of over 300 Affiliate groups will continue to work with local school districts and parents to engage stakeholders across the country in preparing for the challenges ahead as the ESSA is implemented.
“In the months ahead, we look forward to working with our allies as well as our Affiliates to inform parents in our communities nationwide about new state and district responsibilities so that there is effective advocacy at the local level to ensure our most vulnerable students are succeeding within this new legislation,” concluded Murguía.
Finally, we note our deep disappointment that a bill of this magnitude and of such significance to the Latino community did not include any Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) in the formal conference committee process. Latino students will comprise nearly a third of all U.S. K–12 enrollments by 2023 and CHC leaders will be critical to hold states accountable in the future.
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along onFacebook and Twitter.
Julian Teixeira, Senior Director, Communications
National Council of La Raza (NCLR)