Mr. KLINE. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 542, I call up the conference report on the bill (S. 1177) to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure that every child achieves, and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
Mr. KLINE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on the conference report to accompany S. 1177.
Mr. KLINE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on the conference report to accompany S. 1177.
Mr. ROKITA. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to offer the following Joint Statement of Legislative Intent on the Conference Report to accompany S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act, on behalf of myself and Mr. JOHN KLINE, Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee.
Mr. KLINE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise today in strong support of the conference report to accompany S. 1177, to be known as the Every Student Succeeds Act.
After years of congressional delay and executive overreach, Congress is finally replacing No Child Left Behind. More importantly, we are replacing the old approach to education with a new approach that will help every child in [Page: H8885]
every school receive an excellent education.
For more than a decade, Washington has been micromanaging our classrooms. Federal rules now dictate how States and local communities measure student achievement, fix broken schools, spend taxpayer resources, and hire and fire their teachers.
No Child Left Behind was based on good intentions, but it was also based on the flawed premise that Washington knows what students need to succeed in school.
And what do we have to show for it? Less than half of all fourth and eighth graders are proficient in reading and math. An achievement gap continues to separate poor and minority students from their more affluent peers. In some neighborhoods, children are far more likely to drop out of high school than earn a diploma.
Parents, teachers, superintendents, and other education leaders have been telling us for years that the top-down approach to education is not working. Yet some still believe that more programs, more mandates, and more bureaucrats will help get this right. Well, those days will soon be over.
Today, we turn the page on the failed status quo and turn over to our Nation's parents and our State and local leaders the authority, flexibility, and certainty they need to deliver children an excellent education.
We reached this moment because replacing No Child Left Behind has long been a leading priority for House Republicans. For years, we have fought to improve K-12 education with three basic principles: reducing the Federal role, restoring local control, and empowering parents. The final bill by the House and Senate conference committee reflects these principles.
The bill reduces the Federal role in K-12 education by repealing dozens of ineffective programs which place unprecedented restrictions on the Secretary of Education; eliminating one-size-fits-all schemes around accountability and school improvement, ending the era of high-stakes testing; and preventing this administration and future administrations from coercing or incentivizing States to adopt Common Core.
The bill restores local control by protecting the right of States to opt out of Federal education programs and by delivering new funding flexibility so taxpayer resources are better spent on local priorities.
The conference agreement also returns to States and school districts the responsibility for accountability and school improvement. A set of broad parameters will help taxpayers know that their money is being well spent while ensuring State and local leaders have the authority necessary to run their schools.
The bill also empowers parents by providing moms and dads with the information they need to hold their schools accountable. The conference agreement strengthens school choice by reforming programs that affect charter schools and magnet schools, and it prevents any Federal interference with our Nation's private schools and home schools.
Reducing the Federal role, restoring local control,
empowering parents--these are the principles we have fought for because these are the principles that will help give every child a shot at a quality education.
Now, let me be clear. This is not a perfect bill. To make progress, you find common ground. But make no mistake, we compromised on the detail, but we did not compromise on the principles.
Mr. Speaker, the American people are tired of waiting for us to replace a flawed education law. They are tired of the Federal intrusion, of the conditional waivers, and of the Federal coercion. Most importantly, they are tired of seeing their kids being trapped in failing schools.
Let's do the job we were sent here to do. Let's replace No Child Left Behind with new policies that are based on principles we believe in.
For these reasons, I strongly urge my colleagues to support this conference agreement.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I am honored to endorse the conference report on S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act.
We have certainly come a long way since we were on the floor debating H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, earlier this year. I had sincere objections to much that was found in H.R. 5, but thanks to the commitment to work together to try to fashion a decent bill with Chairman Kline and our counterparts in the Senate, Senator Alexander and Senator Murray, along with the many long nights from our respective staffs, we found a way to produce a conference report that balances
the desire for more localized decisionmaking with the need for Federal oversight to ensure equity for underserved students.
This conference report is the embodiment of what we can do when we work together in Washington--a workable compromise that does not force either side to desert its core beliefs.
Mr. Speaker, the modern Federal role in elementary and secondary education began with the promise in Brown v. Board of Education when a unanimous Supreme Court held that, in 1954, ``it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education'' and that ``such an opportunity is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.''
Yet, despite the Brown decision, our education system has remained fundamentally unequal. That inequality is virtually guaranteed by the fact that we fund education basically by the real estate tax, guaranteeing that wealthier areas will have more funds than low-income areas.
Across the Nation, gaps in equity persist. These gaps made it impossible to realize the opportunity of an education to all on equal terms because too many schools lacked the basic resources necessary for success. Too many schools failed children year after year.
And these gaps disproportionately affected the politically disconnected: those in poverty, racial minorities, students with disabilities, and English language learners. This was unacceptable.
In 1965, Congress addressed the inequality by passing the first Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESEA, which provided Federal money to address--and I quote from the original bill--``the special educational needs of children of low-income families and the impact that concentrations of low-income families have on the ability of local educational agencies to support adequate educational programs.''
Simply put, Congress acknowledged that the right to an education is a civil right that knows no State boundaries and that the Federal Government has a role to ensure that all States are fulfilling their promises for all of America's children.
The current iteration of the ESEA, No Child Left Behind, has run its course. It is so broken that the administration currently offers over 40 States waivers from its most unworkable provisions. This has not only created a great amount of uncertainty for students, parents, educators, and communities, but it has also resulted in uneven protections for underserved students and a lack of transparency for our communities.
This conference report improves upon both the current law and the waivers, lives up to the promises of Brown and the intent of the original ESEA, and addresses the key challenges of No Child Left Behind.
First, the Every Student Succeeds Act maintains high standards for all children but allows States to determine those standards in a way that requires those standards to be aligned with college readiness.
The Every Student Succeeds Act requires States to put in place assessment, accountability, and improvement policies that will close the achievement gap but with locally designed, evidence-based strategies that meet the unique needs of students and schools.
The conference report requires the transparent reporting of data to ensure that schools are responsible for not only the achievement of all of their students but also for the equitable allocation of resources to support student learning.
The conference report helps States and school districts reduce the overuse of exclusionary policies by allowing the existing funding to be used for the Youth PROMISE plans, which is an [Page: H8886]
issue I have been working on for many years.
Youth PROMISE plans are comprehensive, evidence-based plans that are designed to address neighborhoods with significant crime, teen pregnancy, and other problems, and they are designed to reinvest savings generated by those plans to keep the plans working in the future.
The conference report recognizes the importance of early learning, a priority of both red and blue States alike, by authorizing a program to assist States in improving the coordination, quality, improvement, and access to pre-K.
Most importantly, while many of these new systems will be created by the States, under the conference report, the Federal Government maintains the ability to make sure that States and localities are living up to their commitments--that all students are being counted and that schools are being held accountable for their achievement.
While this conference report is not the bill that I would have written alone--or that any Member would have written alone, for that matter--I have no doubt that this bipartisan conference report will make a positive difference in the lives of our Nation's children and will live up to the goal of the original ESEA: making an opportunity for an education available to all on equal terms. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes.''
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. ROKITA. Mr. Speaker, I recognize Chairman Kline especially for the work he has done over a long period of time, 7 years or so, bringing this House, this Congress, to where we are today. It truly is leadership at its best.
Mr. Speaker, let's face it. No Child Left Behind's high-stakes testing, which requires every child to be caught up to grade level within 1 year, is simply unworkable, as well-intentioned as it may have been.
Currently, the Secretary of Education, through waivers, can run schools by executive fiat, imposing requirements on State testing standards and conditioning receipt of Federal funds on adopting Common Core standards.
It's time for a positive change, and that change is the Every Student Succeeds Act. This bill, as pointed out here, as The Wall Street Journal puts it, is the largest transfer of Federal control, Mr. Speaker, to the States in 25 years, where this authority and opportunity frankly belongs.
This bill empowers States, and it ends the federally mandated high-stakes testing, which is the core, which is the heart of No Child Left Behind, which is causing all the stress that we see from our teachers, our school administrators, our parents, and especially our students. If it produced the results that we intended, maybe that is one thing. But all it is producing is stress and an unworkable situation.
The people who best know how to test, how long to test, what to test, et cetera, et cetera, are our parents, our teachers, our voters, our taxpayers, our local school administrators. Let them have this responsibility back.
It provides flexibility so voters and taxpayers, through their locally elected officials, can decide for themselves what success looks like. It recognizes that, when it comes to determining academic standards, States, school administrators, and parents know what is best.
It is time we put our children first so we can compete in a global, 21st-century world and win again. It is time we trust parents, teachers, and local education leaders more than we trust Federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. This bill is a huge step in that direction.
I urge all of my colleagues, Republican and Democrat, to support it.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Fudge), who is the ranking member of the subcommittee that reported this bill.
Ms. FUDGE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
I thank both the chair and ranking member for their leadership. It has been a privilege to work on this with both of you.
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to express my strong support for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It is long overdue. For years, our Nation's students, their parents, and teachers have implored Congress to address the flaws in No Child Left Behind.
Today we finally have a bill that addresses many of the most difficult issues. Though not perfect, this bill is a significant improvement over No Child Left Behind.
Education is our Nation's great equalizer. Education opens the doors of opportunity to all of our Nation's children. This year we commemorated the 50th anniversary of President Johnson signing the original ESEA.
Fifty years ago, as part of the Great Society legislation, we passed ESEA as a civil rights law that affirmed the right of every child to a quality education. It further underscored the belief that poverty should not be an obstacle to student success.
The bill before us protects title I funding, ensures equitable allocation of resources to schools. It recognizes the importance of afterschool education and maintains subgroup disaggregation of data for reporting.
Further, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants program is formula based and distributes dollars that fill resource and opportunity gaps based on the need and population.
While ESSA does give States and local districts more flexibility, it does not absolve the Federal Government of its responsibility to protect the civil rights of underserved students. Make no mistake. The Department of Education maintains its authority to oversee implementation of the law and take action against States and districts that aren't honoring the civil rights legacy of the ESEA.
It was my goal that the final bill provide equal educational opportunities for all children, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, language, or disability. I believe the Every Student Succeeds Act achieves this goal by striking a balance in the best interest of all of our Nation's students.
I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Kline for the opportunity to voice my support for this comprehensive overhaul of No Child Left Behind, which has been a long time in the making.
As a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, I can attest to this conference report being the product of many years of hard work. I am happy to have been a conferee for the Every Student Succeeds Act, which, through a bipartisan agreement, provides more flexibility for our States, school districts, educators, parents, and students.
The Every Student Succeeds Act will establish a more appropriate Federal role in education by ending the era of mandated high-stakes testing, limiting the power of the Secretary of Education to dictate cookie-cutter standards, repealing dozens of ineffective and duplicative programs, and ensuring resources are delivered to where they are most effective and necessary.
I am especially grateful to the conferees for their adoption of an amendment that will instruct the Department of Education to finally study the fairness of the current title I formulas used to offset the effects of poverty upon young learners.
ESEA, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, was created to provide each student an equal opportunity under the law. But, unfortunately, we are still not targeting those areas with the highest concentration of poverty.
I am hopeful that we can continue to embrace the spirit of ESEA and ensure that we are always working in the direction of providing great educational opportunities for all children.
I want to thank my friend, my colleague, and my chairman, John Kline, for his leadership to accomplish this historical education reform.
I urge my colleagues to support the conference report. [Page: H8887]
Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation. It has been 13 long years since ESEA was rewritten. As we have heard from prior speakers, there are many problems that have been identified with No Child Left Behind, which we have heard from across the board in terms of parents, educators, administrators, and in terms of the need to update and revise this legislation.
What we also know is that the American economy has changed over the last 13 years and so has the world economy. One of the biggest problems that employers have today is the lack of individuals with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math, STEM technology.
The good news is that this bill upgrades the K-12 system to give kids the tools that they are going to need to succeed with these jobs, which now are growing three
times as fast as non-STEM jobs. The good news is it provides incomes twice as large as non-STEM jobs.
So what the bill does is it creates a STEM master teacher core, provides professional development training to STEM educators, greater access for thousands of school districts to Federal funding to support STEM programs, including partnerships with nonprofits.
It encourages alternative certification programs to allow more STEM teachers to come from industry and will retain and provide promising STEM teachers with differential pay. This is what our school systems need and this is what our kids need to have the tools to succeed in the future.
It is a great achievement that the chairman and the ranking member defied all the conventional wisdom to get this bill to move forward. It is almost like Pope Francis created some aura that you capitalized on. I mean that sincerely.
This is an incredible achievement to break through the barriers that have prevented us from coming together as an institution to really fix what in many respects is the most important issue, which is creating a future for the kids and our grandchildren.
I urge strong support of this legislation.
Mr. KLINE. Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the gentleman from Connecticut for mentioning Pope Francis and not mentioning ladies basketball.
I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Roe), the chair of the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee of the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Mr. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman and ranking member for doing the Herculean work on this bill, Every Student Succeeds Act, and the conference report. Many, many, many hours and many Congresses could not make this happen. They did. My hat is off to them.
When I go home to Tennessee and talk to the teachers, students, administrators, and the parents, what do I hear? There is too much Federal control, too many forms to fill out, we are teaching to the test, the students are frustrated, the teachers are frustrated.
Just go sit in front of a group of teachers and ask them: Would you be a teacher again? I promise you that over half of them will hold up their hand and say: No. I wouldn't be a teacher again.
That is terrible. We have to make an environment where the educators are enjoying what they do.
For the most part, I think teachers have one of the most important jobs in this country. I am a product of the public education system, 23 years. If I hadn't had great teachers, I would not have had the opportunity to be a doctor and I wouldn't have had the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Congress. So I am forever grateful.
What do we do? What do they say? They say: Look, this adequate yearly progress we are being judged on, these tests, as far as our students moving along, the Common Core--I hear that all the time at home--we don't need a national school board telling us what to teach in our community.
We heard them. Both sides of the aisle heard them and said: Okay. What we will do is we will push that control back down to the local level and you decide what is your curriculum, but you are going to be held accountable for how your student outcomes are. If you have students and minorities, we will be able to ferret those out and improve those students' outcomes.
We have eliminated or altered 49 different programs into a flexibility grant that will make it easier for the administrators to run their school systems. I think the main thing we want to do at the end of the day is that we want to create an environment where our students have the best opportunity in the world to achieve because they are now competing on a world basis.
For that reason, I think this bill does that. I encourage my colleagues to vote for this.
Ms. WILSON of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of the Every Student Succeeds Act. I want to thank Chairmen ALEXANDER and KLINE and Ranking Members MURRAY and SCOTT for their yearlong work on this bill.
At its heart, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is a civil rights law based on a simple, yet powerful, promise made to all American children. It is a promise that, no matter where you live, what you look like, or what resources you have, you deserve a quality education.
Unfortunately, No Child Left Behind's one-size-fits-all approach derailed the fulfillment of this promise by creating an untenable environment of excessive, high-stakes testing that undermines educators' ability to serve their students.
While not perfect, the Every Student Succeeds Act is a substantial improvement that takes us one step closer to delivering on the promise of a quality education.
ESSA will provide schools with the resources and guidelines they need to deliver on this promise by directing resources to the children most in need and allowing school districts the flexibility to use title IV funds in a way that best works for their students. [Page: H8888]
As someone who has dedicated my life to dropout prevention, I am overjoyed to see this bill includes my amendment allowing title IV funds to be used for dropout prevention and reentry programs. But this is just the first step for our children.
It is the champions of our children's education--the teachers, the parents, the principals, and the mentors--who will create an environment of learning. That environment will ensure that our children's hearts and minds are positively shaped by our collective wisdom, our support, and our love.
I want to thank the teachers and parents across our Nation and especially in Florida for their work and commitment.
I urge my colleagues to support this conference report and stand united for a single purpose: our children.
Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
As a father of three children who have attended public schools, I know the importance of allowing those who know our students best to be the decisionmakers.
I want to thank everybody who is involved in educating our children. My wife and I certainly appreciate those who have sacrificed so much time to take care of our children.
Since coming to Congress, I have heard from parents, teachers, school board members, and school leaders that No Child Left Behind is not producing the results our children need.
States and local school districts need flexibility to deliver a quality education to our students. This agreement does just that. It gets the Federal Government out of our classrooms and puts the decisionmaking back in the hands of our State and local leaders.
This agreement prevents the Secretary from legislating through executive fiat. It prohibits the Secretary from adding new requirements through regulations and from adding new requirements as a condition of approval of a State plan.
As a Member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and a conferee on this agreement, I am pleased with the determination of my colleagues in this Congress to move beyond the failed policies of No Child Left Behind. Our children deserve a quality education, and this bill is a step in the right direction.
Mr. Speaker, I do want to thank the chairman and the ranking member and those in the Senate for all their hard work. I know the staff from both sides, people that we get to work with every day who work hard for the people of this country and who have worked hard for our children. I appreciate the hard work they have done in bringing this agreement to where we are today.
I urge my colleagues to support this conference agreement.
Mr. TAKANO. I thank the gentleman from Virginia for yielding time.
Mr. Speaker, as a former public schoolteacher for 24 years, I am proud to rise in support of this bill, which will improve our schools, offer more support to teachers, and, most importantly, provide more students the education they deserve.
Having served in the classroom during the implementation of No Child Left Behind, I can say without hesitation that our current education system needs a reset.
While well-intentioned, No Child Left Behind created a punitive approach to education policy that punishes underperforming schools instead of helping them to improve. That rigid, test-driven approach to accountability, combined with heavyhanded intervention from the Federal Government, has failed to close the achievement gaps in our country.
This reauthorization replaces our test-and-punish system with a more flexible test-and-reveal approach that returns decisionmaking to States and school districts. It will empower educators who best understand their students' needs to develop new ways to meet local challenges.
I am also pleased this bill increases overall education funding and ensures States are maintaining their investments in schools.
As a teacher, I might not give this bill an A-plus, but it is a solid bipartisan compromise, and it is an overdue replacement for a status quo that we all know is unacceptable. For that reason, I give this bill a passing grade.
Mr. MESSER. Mr. Speaker, I have not heard from one parent, student, or teacher who likes No Child Left Behind. Despite what may have been the best of intentions, its one-size-fits-all mandates led to Federal Government micromanagement in the classroom, overtested kids, and anxiety-ridden teachers, but, sadly, no significant improvement in student outcomes.
That is why virtually everyone wants to repeal No Child Left Behind. Today we have an opportunity to do just that by supporting the Every Student Succeeds Act. It is a new approach to the Federal role in education. If you read it, there is a lot to like in the bill.
By voting for this bill, we can end Federal Common Core mandates and stop the march towards a Federal curriculum. We can end high-stakes testing and abolish the unworkable adequate yearly progress metrics. Best of all, we can give power over education back to the people we trust: the parents, the teachers, and the local school administrators who are best positioned to make good decisions for our kids.
Access to a quality education is the gateway to opportunity in modern America. We still have a long way to go before we can make sure every child has that kind of access, but the Every Student Succeeds Act is a big step in the right direction.
I urge my colleagues for their support.
Mr. HOYER. I thank Mr. Scott for yielding. I want to thank Mr. Kline, the chairman of the committee, and Ranking Member Scott for their work on this bill.
Mr. Speaker, Frederick Douglass was born a slave on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He became one of the great leaders in our country. Obviously, he worked hard with Abraham Lincoln to see the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. He said this: ``It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.''
This bill is about investment in the future, investment in children. Investing in elementary and secondary education is one of the most consequential acts we will undertake in this House. The impact of our investments in education will be felt long after we are gone. It will have a significant bearing on the future well-being of our economy and our democracy.
I want to thank Chairman Kline and Ranking Member Scott, as well as Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, the chair and ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee, for their extraordinary efforts on this bill.
This is a bipartisan bill. We worked together. Frankly, we had a little trouble working together here, but they worked together there, and then we worked together here. It is turning out well.
My friend indicated that he would not give this bill an A-plus. I was trying to reflect on any bill that I have ever voted on that I would give an A-plus to. It is not a perfect bill, but it represents a reasonable
compromise that will strengthen elementary and secondary education in this country, provide certainty going forward, and help prepare the next generation of students--no matter who they are, how they learn, or where they live--for success in college, in their careers, in their vocations, and as future innovators and entrepreneurs in our economy.
I am particularly proud--and I thank Mr. Scott, and I thank also the two Senate leaders, as well as Mr. Kline--that this conference report includes the Full-Service Community Schools program, which I have championed for several years.
My wife, Judy, was an early childhood educator and administrator in Prince George's County, Maryland. She [Page: H8889]
died over 18 years ago. It is from her, however, that I first learned of the potential of full-service community schools, and our State has very successfully created a network of schools using this integrated approach named in her memory.
There will be 52 Judy Centers around our State for 3- and 4-year-olds. Some of them are privately funded, they are so popular, some publicly funded, and some in partnership. These Judy Centers enable low-income families with very young children to access a range of critical services all in one place. When starting kindergarten, children whose families participated in Judy Center programs performed better than those whose families did not.
Mr. HOYER. Judy Centers are helping to close that gap.
In closing, I urge my colleagues to vote for this bill because it is a step forward. It is an indication, as well, that we can work in a bipartisan fashion to the benefit of the people we represent. I urge my colleagues to vote for this conference report.
Mr. CURBELO of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the Every Student Succeeds Act. I want to thank my colleagues on the Committee on Education and the Workforce for their tireless efforts to improve K-12 education for all students, especially Chairman Kline, Chairman Rokita, and Ranking Members Scott and Fudge.
Throughout this process, we have identified the successes and failures of No Child Left Behind. This agreement allows us to capture the spirit of that last ESEA reauthorization: education is the great civil rights issue of our time, and every child in this country can learn, no matter the color of their skin, the ZIP Code they live in, the language their parents speak, or their income level.
We also learned from the failures of No Child Left Behind that led to an overly rigid, one-size-fits-all accountability system, inevitably giving the Federal Government an outsized role in public education. That is why the legislation before us today returns decisionmaking authority to States and local school districts, empowering communities and giving America's teachers the respect they deserve.
I am especially pleased that the bill we are considering today includes my amendment, which will ensure that children learning English are counted without being counted out, and that the teachers and schools who serve them are given more time to help these students succeed.
As a former member of the Miami-Dade County School Board, I am proud to have been a part of this process as a conferee. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this bipartisan compromise. This agreement promotes school choice, empowers local leaders, and, most importantly, puts children, not Washington bureaucrats, at the center of America's education system.
Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, the students, educators, parents, and school board members I have spoken with over the years have been waiting for this day, and I am glad we are finally reaching agreement on a new education law, and we are going to leave behind No Child Left Behind.
It was a well-intentioned law. Its goal was to create more equitable education for children across the country, but it resulted in too much emphasis on one-size-fits-all mandates and interventions, and the adequate yearly progress requirements caused too much focus on high-stakes testing. Change is long overdue.
The Every Student Succeeds Act returns flexibility to States and school districts to design interventions that address the specific needs of their schools. Importantly, it has States use multiple measures of academic progress in their accountability systems so no schools will be punished for the performance of students on a single exam. They can focus on addressing resource inequalities and improving school climate and delivering access to advanced coursework and rich curricula.
After hearing frequent concerns from students and teachers about the need for fewer, better assessments, I am pleased that the Every Student Succeeds Act includes a bipartisan provision I authored with Congressman Ryan Costello to help school districts eliminate unnecessary testing.
The bill also improves STEM learning by encouraging the incorporation of art, music, and design. A well-rounded education that teaches our students to think creatively is good for their futures and good for the innovation economy.
The Every Student Succeeds Act has States set high standards for students. It requires States and school districts to intervene in schools where students have poor academic outcomes and where subgroups of students, such as English learners, low-income students, or students of color, lag behind their peers.
The law we are voting on today is true to the legacy of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act and its goal of closing achievement gaps and promoting equitable opportunities and outcomes for students.
Mr. Speaker, I commend Chairman Kline and Chairman Alexander and Ranking Members Scott and Murray and their very hardworking staffs for their commitment to this bipartisan accomplishment.
I support the Every Student Succeeds Act and urge my colleagues to do the same.
Mr. POCAN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentleman not only for yielding, but for his and Chairman Kline's hard work on this bill.
I rise today in support of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Defending public education is one of the reasons that I came to Congress. For years, we have witnessed a negative impact on public education, from underfunding our schools to stripping teachers of their rights to collectively bargain for fair pay and conditions, like in my home State of Wisconsin.
At the same time, punitive policies which limit teachers' and administrators' abilities to manage their classrooms have further hampered student achievement. It is past time we renew the promise of an ESEA which has students' best interests at heart.
I meet with teachers and administrators from Wisconsin's Second Congressional District regularly and was stunned when I was told that one-third of a school's staff turned over last year because schools lack the financial support and autonomy they need to give students the educational experience they deserve. Teachers are being asked to do more with less, and it is coming at the expense of our kids' education.
While this bill is not perfect, I am pleased that we are finally discussing a bill today that aims to put students first and trusts our teachers, who dedicate their careers to education. This bill trusts and empowers teachers to ensure their voices are heard on the Federal, State, and local level, while increasing teacher quality and professional development and reducing the burden of testing in schools.
These are good improvements, Mr. Speaker, good for our Nation's children. And that is why I support this bill.
Mr. BISHOP of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I would too like to voice my appreciation to Chairman Kline and the ranking member for their hard work on this legislation.
I am a father of three children in the K-12 education system in my hometown. And I think all of us would agree [Page: H8890]
here that we have a moral obligation to ensure the best possible educational environment for our children.
Unfortunately, the past 25 years have seen student achievement actually go down. We can blame that on a lot of things. There is plenty of blame to go around. But the best question that we can ask today is: What is Congress going to do about it?
And the answer, I believe, begins with the Every Student Succeeds Act. It is a bipartisan bill that helps to limit the role of Federal bureaucrats, restore local control, and empower parents.
The Wall Street Journal has called this ``the largest shift of Federal control to the States in a quarter-century.'' And they are precisely correct. It gives more flexibility back to local school districts and gives States the right to set their own standards. So if a State wants out of Common Core, they would have the option to do that.
What is more, parents can get information on local school performance so they can do what is best for their children. And when it comes to holding schools accountable, State and local leaders will get that responsibility back, as they should.
But, above all, this bill replaces the No Child Left Behind Act. I think we can all agree that our current system is broken.
Ms. CLARK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Kline and Ranking Member Scott for their leadership on this bill and for proving that Congress can listen to our educators, administrators, and communities and put the needs of our students first.
We all know that a great country deserves great schools. And I am pleased to join champions of education in both Chambers, both sides of the aisle, in supporting this blueprint for schools that invites every child to participate, no matter a child's income, race, ZIP Code, or disability.
This bill helps fulfill the unrealized promise of No Child Left Behind by protecting resources for schools in underserved communities. It provides accountability and equality of access while reducing reliance on high-stakes tests. It creates opportunities for our most vulnerable students--homeless and foster youth--who have suffered abuse and those who have experienced trauma. And, for the first time, we have a bill that invests in early learning through Preschool Development Grants.
This legislation brings us closer to ensuring that every child gets a fair shot at their dream.
I thank my colleagues for their work and commitment to our country's children and to our economic future.
Ms. ADAMS. I thank the gentleman from Virginia for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 played a major role in ensuring all students have access to quality education. Because of this legislation, over the past 50 years, we have made remarkable progress in closing the achievement gap that plagues many low-income students. However, we still have a lot of work to do.
The last reauthorization, No Child Left Behind, was signed into law in 2002 and hasn't been updated since. In that time, we have seen many changes in our education system and the needs of our students and educators, in addition to the unintended consequences of No Child Left Behind.
So I am proud today that we are finally moving forward with a bipartisan bill that keeps the best interests of American students and educators in mind. The Every Student Succeeds Act is a true embodiment of what a stronger reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act should look like.
This legislation upholds the key principles of equal access to education for all, rich or poor, and upholds accountability systems that ensure success. From promoting access to early education to supporting our neediest students and our teachers and investing in STEM education, this legislation puts our students first and helps to close achievement gaps.
Our children are our future. Educating them shouldn't be a Democrat or a Republican issue. So I urge all of my colleagues to support our students by supporting this critical bipartisan legislation.
Mr. ALLEN. I thank the chairman as well as the ranking member for their hard work on this bill. Thank you for getting us to this important day.
Today, I rise in support of the Every Student Succeeds Act. This bicameral legislation improves K-12 education by repealing No Child Left Behind and scales back Washington's role in education by restoring authority to those who know our students best.
As we have seen, the current top-down approach is not working. The arms of Washington have extended far too long into the classroom. We need a change; American students deserve a change. And the Every Student Succeeds Act is a powerful step forward in reforming our educational system.
This legislation stops Federal micromanagement of local schools, gets rid of unnecessary programs, downsizes the Federal education bureaucracy, places new restrictions on the authority of the Secretary of Education, and, most importantly, restores control back to the local level, letting States and school districts address the needs of our students.
Teachers, school officials, and parents have an ear to the ground each day. They know what our schoolchildren need to succeed. This is what I hear every time I am in the district. Washington bureaucrats do not belong in the classroom.
I am proud to support this legislation that gives students the tools they need for a successful future. I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the conference report.
Mr. DeSAULNIER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say what a pleasure it is to be here to support the Every Student Succeeds Act, having spent much of my first year in the district going to school districts and schools.
And I will be able to go back in the coming weeks and say that we have this bipartisan compromise through the hard work of Chairman Kline and Ranking Member Scott and Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray. So I congratulate and thank them for their hard work.
I am also pleased to see that a number of priorities I share with my Democratic and Republican colleagues were included in the final version of the landmark bill.
The conference report for Every Student Succeeds Act sets national education standards that ensure all American students, regardless of geography, socioeconomic status, race, or gender, receive a quality education.
Included in the bill are several measures that I am proud to have worked on with colleagues which are meant to protect students. I am pleased that a number of them, such as promoting efficient and effective Head Start programs, protecting student athletes from concussions, and providing students with academic and extracurricular support beyond the normal school day, which we know is important, were included.
While the concussion-related provisions of the bill are an important first step, it does not go far enough to combat the devastating physical and neurological impacts of brain injuries like those we recently heard about sustained by Hall of Fame football player Frank Gifford. There is a demonstrated need for increased vigilance and improved education on this important [Page: H8891]
topic, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on this and other issues.
Again, I want to thank the chairman and the ranking member, and I urge all my colleagues to support this very important piece of legislation.
Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, when ESEA was first signed in 1965, it was a critical piece of civil rights legislation. In fact, when President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill, he said it bridges the gap between helplessness and hope for millions of students affected by it.
The bill before us today maintains President Johnson's commitment to the achievement of every child, regardless of race, socioeconomic background, or ZIP Code.
Many of my colleagues have talked about the new flexibility provided in the bill. Well, that is true, but it is flexibility to meet the learning needs of every kid, not the flexibility to fail.
Flexibility does not mean freedom from responsibility. States are accountable for the achievement of each and every child under this bill, and I am confident that President Obama wouldn't sign any bill that doesn't maintain strong civil rights protections. And I would never support a bill that would allow students to be swept under the rug.
This bill upholds the spirit of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I am proud to support it today and support innovative solutions to improve the opportunities for learning that every child in our country has.
Mr. McKINLEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from West Virginia (Mr. McKinley).
The amendment was agreed to.
AMENDMENT NO. 14 OFFERED BY MR.
The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 14 printed in House Report 114-359.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, a lot has been said about the work being done in this committee. I think it is important to point out that the chair and I didn't do all this work. His staff, Senator Murray's staff, and Senator Alexander's staff worked hard.
I would like to read the names of some of the members of my staff that worked on this legislation, starting with Denise Forte, Brian Kennedy, Jacque Chevalier, Helen Pajcic, Christian Haines, Kevin McDermott, Alex Payne, Kiara Pesante, Arika Trim, Rayna Reid, Michael Taylor, Austin Barbera, and Veronique Pluviose.
Also, House Legislation Council staff Anna Shpak, Susan Fleishman, and Brendan Gallagher worked hard on this legislation; and Congressional Research Service staff Becky Skinner and Jody Feder.
I would like to mention those names as hardworking members that have brought about all of this bipartisan cooperation.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his extraordinary leadership as the new ranking member on the Education and the Workforce Committee, bringing with him all of his commitment to education in our country as well as his knowledge of the connection of young people to our justice system and how to provide opportunities for them in the safest possible way. I thank Mr. Scott for his great leadership.
We are all very, very proud of you. I know your predecessor in this role, Mr. George Miller, would be as well.
I thank you, Chairman Kline, for your leadership as well and for enabling this bipartisan legislation to come to the floor. I salute the chairman and ranking member in the Senate as well.
Fifty years ago our Nation took a bold and historic step forward for educational opportunity, for the strength of our economy, and for the health of our democracy, which is based on an informed electorate, enacting the ESEA.
Today the Elementary and Secondary Education Act stands as one of the landmark victories in both the struggle for civil rights and the War on Poverty.
At the bill signing in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson, himself a former teacher, explained: ``No law I have signed or will ever sign means more to the future of America.'' President Johnson added: ``Education is the only valid passport from poverty.''
In addition to what it returns to the individual and enables that person to reach his or her aspirations, education brings much to our economy. In fact, nothing brings more to the Treasury of our country than investments in education, from early childhood education, K-12, which we are addressing today, higher education, postsecondary education, lifetime learning.
Indeed, the ESEA's commitment to expanding education access, especially to our most vulnerable students, has proven essential to bridging the gap between poverty and possibility for generations of Americans.
Yet, for the first time in our Nation's history, more than half of the students attending public school live in poverty. To close the opportunity gap, we must close the education gap that limits the future of so many children and communities.
Today we are thankful to be passing a bipartisan agreement that will strengthen the education of all of our children. It helps States to improve low-performing schools and empowers teachers and administrators with better training and support.
It targets funding to the most at-risk and needy students, with enhanced title I investments. It provides vital resources for English language learners and homeless youth.
It amplifies the voices of educators and parents, what we have always wanted, schools, a place where children can learn, teachers can teach, and parents can participate. It replaces high-stakes testing with State and local district flexibility.
We are bolstering our commitment to strong STEM, arts, and early education for children in every ZIP code.
In our area and other parts of the country, we call STEM STEAM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, all of that reinforced in this legislation.
With these improvements in the ESEA authorization before us, it is no wonder that this agreement is supported by a far-ranging coalition, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the National Governors Association, the Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights, AFT and NEA, two leading teachers unions, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, and many more.
We all agree that education is a national security issue. President Eisenhower taught us that. It is also an economic issue. It is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time.
With this legislation, we help ensure that access to high-quality education is the right of every student.
I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this strong bipartisan reauthorization of the historic ESEA, the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Once again I thank the distinguished chairman, Mr. Kline, and our ranking member, of whom we are very, very, proud as well, Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
As has already been pointed out, this bill does not include everything everybody wanted. But the civil rights and education community both support the legislation because of the significant civil rights implications in the bill. This will go a long way in giving equal opportunity in education.
Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a long list of education and civil rights organizations that have endorsed the bill.
ESSA Endorsement Master List
Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), American Library Association (ALA), Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), Business Roundtable (BRT), Business Civil Rights Coalition, California Children's Advocacy Coalition, Chiefs for Change (C4C), Communities in Schools (CIS), Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Cooperative
Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA), Council for Exceptional Children [Page: H8892]
(CEC), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), Easter Seals, Education Trust.
Grantmakers in the Arts (GIRTS), Interstate Migrant Education Council (IMEC), Knowledge Alliance (KA), Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Magnet Schools of America (MSA), National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS), National
Association of School Psychologists (NASP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS), National Center for Technological Literacy (NCTL), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL), National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), National Education Association (NEA).
National Governors Association (NGA), National PTA, National School Boards Association (NSBA), PACER Center, Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), STEM Education Coalition, Teach For America (TFA), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), The School Superintendents Association (AASA), Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU), US Chamber of Commerce, United Way Worldwide.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chair for his cooperation and hard work, and I urge our Members to support the bill.
I yield back the balance of my time.