I want to welcome everyone to today's hearing entitled, "ESEA Reauthorization: Addressing the
Needs of Diverse Students."
The timing of this hearing is critically important - as we continue to review the Administration's
blueprint for ESEA reauthorization and work as a Committee to reform our nation's primary K-
12 education law. I hope today's discussion brings us one step closer to that goal.
I also want to thank our witnesses for taking the time out of their busy schedules to inform this
process. We cannot do our jobs well without input from educators, advocates and researchers
who are working hard to help all children succeed.
Like many of my colleagues, I am pleased that we are embarking on another bipartisan
reauthorization. I have participated in five reauthorizations of ESEA during my time in
Congress, and strongly believe this next reauthorization is long overdue.
While the No Child Left Behind Act shed light on the inequalities in our education system, it
unfortunately did not do enough to close the achievement gap for diverse students. The federal
government has a responsibility before all others to ensure equal opportunity. This must be a top
priority for future steps in education reform.
Just as our country grows increasingly diverse, we must ensure that our education system adapts
to varying student needs. By strengthening current programs for diverse students and investing in
innovative strategies for closing the achievement gap, we have an opportunity to change the
future course for millions of students.
I hope we begin with our accountability system, adopting an approach that rewards growth and
progress so we can better focus our resources on the districts and schools that need help moving
We must also explore ways to eliminate the system's inequalities, encouraging a more equitable
distribution of resources, expanding access to rigorous curriculum in high-need communities,
and providing incentives to improve the distribution of effective teachers.
As we continue to explore these ideas and the many others we will hear in the weeks and months
to come, I hope we never lose sight of the opportunity we have before us. We must prepare to do
what is right for all students, even if it requires a lot of work and significant change.
Today, we will hear recommendations from a panel of educators, advocates, and a researcher
working to close the achievement gap for diverse students. These panelists will help us better
understand the challenges facing low-income and minority students, English Language Learners,
Students with Disabilities, Native American students and homeless students.
Given the importance of today's topic, I know our panel will give us a lot to think about as we
work across the aisle and Capitol to improve our education system.
I look forward to their testimony, and now yield five minutes to my distinguished colleague and
Ranking Member Castle from Delaware.