Good News For The Whole Family

A great jobs report in the headlines, and important education news under the fold.

A Great Jobs Report In The Headlines, And Important Education News Under The Fold

Friday brought some very good news for Americans in the workforce, and for those who haven’t yet entered it (students!).

The January jobs report added more evidence that the U.S. economy continues to get stronger, not just for those at the very top but also for the middle-class and those looking to get into the middle-class. Headlines from major news outlets delivered the message loud and clear:

A different event garnered far fewer headlines, but represents another important victory. This time, its not for those who are in the workforce now, but for those who rely on quality education to hopefully one join it.

Today, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the lead Republican on the Senate Committee with jurisdiction over the nation’s education policy, reneged on his attempt to push through a partisan bill to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind. In a joint statement with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Committee, Alexander agreed to scrap his bill and move forward to develop a bipartisan starting point for the Committee to consider.

Just one month ago, Alexander put forward an aggressive timeline to have a bill on the Senate floor by the end of this month. But as education experts, including our colleagues at CAP, dug into the that bill, they found that it included a number of troubling provisions. Among other things, it would divert funding away from students living in the poorest communities who need it the most; fail teachers, parents, and students with disabilities; and rollback the federal government’s role in ensuring an equitable education for all students no matter their background, zip code, or income level.

A CAP report released this week demonstrated how communities with concentrations of poverty could lose federal funding to wealthier school districts under Alexander’s original proposal. For example, Chicago could lose more than $64 million, while the much more affluent suburb of Naperville could see its allocations increase. In Los Angeles Unified School District, students could lose out on more than $75 million, while Beverly Hills could gain.

BOTTOM LINE: In 1965, the original goal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was to ensure low-income students have a chance of success. After initially introducing a plan that could have done the opposite, GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander has pulled back and announced a more bipartisan process. That is a very important step in making sure that our nation’s education policy improves to ensure student success in an equitable way.

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