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Letter to the House Urging a NO Vote on Final Passage of the Student Success Act (H.R. 5)

July 19, 2013

Dear Representative: 

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we would like to again urge a NO vote on the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), coming up for a vote this morning. This flawed bill erodes the historical federal role in public education: targeting resources to marginalized student populations as a means of helping to ensure equity of opportunity for all students. Votes on this bill may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress. 

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the cornerstone of the federal presence in K-12 public education. Students, parents, educators, and policymakers on both sides of the political aisle agree that the current version of the law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), has not worked as intended. It is time to replace NCLB with a fair, flexible, and innovative law that leads to real, sustainable opportunities for all students to succeed. Sadly, H.R. 5 would not be the law that our students need. 

Specifically, educators are deeply troubled that the bill:   

  • Undermines the historical federal role in ensuring equity.
  • Eliminates maintenance of effort.
  • Provides inadequate funding.
  • Continues lax policies that do not hold charter schools to the same standards of accountability and transparency as other public schools.
  • Undermines teacher quality efforts. 

The passage this morning of the Cantor amendment (#30)—by voice vote—to dilute the purpose of the Title I program by introducing “portability” makes the bill even worse. 

We urge you to vote NO on H.R. 5. As we approach the 60th anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education, we urge Congress to make a renewed effort to focus on the very real opportunity gaps in our education system—not perpetuate a system that delivers unequal opportunities and uneven quality to America’s children based on the zip code where they live. 

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations