Kati Haycock on Accountability Amendment #2241 to the Every Child Achieves Act
WASHINGTON (July 14, 2015) — Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust, issued the following statement on Amendment #2241 filed today by U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
“Today we applaud Sens. Murphy, Booker, Coons, Durbin, and Warren for introducing this much needed accountability amendment that strengthens key provisions in the Every Child Achieves Act by setting the expectation that states, districts, and schools take action when any group of students fails to meet state-set goals in consecutive years. No matter what school a child attends — whether it is a school performing at the bottom 5 percent in their state or a school that is high-performing for most students — vulnerable students will know that their education matters.
“In previous attempts to update this critical law, Congress built on lessons learned and steadily improved the law’s effectiveness. Since this law was last reauthorized, we’ve learned a great deal about the need for increased state ownership of accountability systems. But in granting that much needed flexibility, this Congress cannot abandon the expectation of progress for the vulnerable students who are the special focus of the law and action when progress isn’t happening.
“Certainly, our schools need flexibility in how they act, and the law guarantees them exactly that. But surely that flexibility — especially when it is accompanied by $15 billion in taxpayer dollars — shouldn’t include no action at all.
“This amendment creates a strong signaling system that not only alerts local policymakers, school leaders, teachers, and parents when groups of students are missing state expectations, but also requires action so that children are not permitted to struggle academically without a lifeline being thrown.
“While this amendment goes a long way to support our nation’s most underserved students, even more work will be needed in Conference to ensure that the accountability provisions of the law are focused where they should be: primarily on improving academic outcomes for all groups of children. But with its clear expectation of action both on behalf of chronically low-performing schools and when any group of students is not progressing, Amendment #2241 is an important step forward in improving the accountability provisions of the Every Child Achieves Act.
“As the Senate completes its work on this law, we strongly urge Members not to lose focus on the very children this law was created to serve. Please give these students the education law that they deserve.”
The Education Trust is a nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels, pre-kindergarten through college. Its goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people — especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian — to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.