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U.S. Rep Gregory W. Meeks Applauds Passage of No Child Left Behind Overhaul

December 3, 2015
Press Release

U.S. Rep Gregory W. Meeks Applauds Passage of No Child Left Behind Overhaul

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Gregory W. Meeks released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bill to replace No Child Left Behind, by a vote of 359-64: 

“Yesterday, as I gathered with friends and family to mourn my Father’s passing, the House passed a bill to improve elementary and secondary education in the United States. Had I been there to vote, I would have joined every other Democrat in voting for this monumental bill that overhauls the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

“S.1777, the ESSA, renews the civil rights spirit of the first Elementary and Secondary Education Act that passed fifty years ago. That historic bill sought to serve as an equalizer to provide all students—regardless of race, gender, or religion—the opportunity to succeed in the classroom and in life, and this bill continues that legacy.

“The ESSA maintains high standards for all students and provides them with the resources they need to excel in the classroom. This measure authorizes a 2 percent increase in spending per year beginning in 2018-2020.  The ESEA’s new programs and funding targets underperforming students, teachers, and schools and assists them in developing a comprehensive plan to improve student outcomes. The ESSA makes significant investments in teacher training, early education, Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), music and the arts, and English-Language Learners (ELLs). In addition, the ESSA prioritizes at-risk youth and provides resources for programs targeting those most vulnerable. While states would have the flexibility to devise their own standards and teacher evaluations, the Department of Education would maintain federal oversight to work collaboratively with states and hold bad actors accountable. The ESSA also gives states the freedom to reduce or alter testing, heeding concerns of over-testing.  Through these significant enhancements, we have improved student’s college and post-secondary prospects.

“It is no secret that No Child Left Behind had many flaws.  I’m encouraged that Democrats and Republicans worked towards and ultimately agreed to put students and our nation’s future, ahead of politics. I look forward to continuing to working with my colleagues, whether they are conservative or liberal, to help improve the lives of the residents in the 5th District and all Americans.”