Posted on October 20, 2011 Issues: School Discipline & Dropout Prevention

(Washington, D.C.)  Today the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions continues to consider a bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which currently holds states and school districts accountable for using federal education funds to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged youth.

The following is a statement by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center:

“The bill’s serious flaws undermine its positive components. The bill fails to safeguard the right of all children to a quality education that prepares them for college and future careers in a competitive global economy. It fails to set achievement and graduation benchmarks, allowing each state to decide which achievement gaps merit special attention.  History demonstrates that when left to their own discretion, most states adopt remarkably low standards, and low-achieving students fall behind.  And the bill fails to fully address factors that push students out of school, such as bullying, harassment, and excessive disciplinary practices.

“It does contain some advances that will be important to maintain, including an emphasis on increasing access to high-level science, technology, engineering and math courses for girls and other underrepresented groups; the inclusion of schools that graduate less than 60 percent of their students in the accountability system, so they are no longer let off the hook; and the preservation of funds to promote gender equity and compliance with Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.  And an amendment passed today by the Committee will improve the way schools report data, making it possible to evaluate the performance of subgroups of boys and girls.

“The future of our next generation is at stake. Committee members should fix this flawed bill. Our children and the nation’s competitiveness in a global economy deserve no less.”