Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the leading Congressional advocate for equitable educational resources joined Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today to discuss the findings from the Equity and Excellence Commission on the state of educational opportunities for America's children.
Congressman Fattah and Representative Mike Honda (D-PA) worked together to create the commission that over the past two years has conducted hearings in major U.S. cities including Philadelphia. Early in his Administration, Fattah met with the President and urged him to appoint a commission to examine and make recommendations on educational reform and advise Secretary Duncan on the best way to remedy the inequity in our nation's public education system. It was from that meeting the idea of the Equity and Excellence Commission was born.
In its final report today, "For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence" the Commission laid out the following recommendations; the Commission calls on states and the federal government to redesign and reform how our nation's public schools are funded, scholarships for high-ability candidates to teach and stay in high-needs fields and schools, and a new initiative to ensure that within 10 years, all low-income children will have access to new resources for high-quality early learning.
"The commissioners engaged in the very difficult work of laying out a path for correcting hundreds of years of inequality in opportunity and outcomes for far too many Americans," Fattah said. "Their various areas of expertise and diverse backgrounds have led to a robust set of recommendations, as well as an insightful articulation of the challenge before us.
The Commission's final report represents a significant milestone in the historic effort to close the achievement gap between rich and poor school districts -- as well as among schools within a given district, that has plagued our nation's public education system.
"I want to publicly thank the Commission for their tireless work and research on this report," Secretary Duncan said. "The Commission has sounded a powerful and important alarm about the distance we still have to go to improve education for every American child. These challenges are not new, but they demand our attention, as long as they stand between us and a truly equal opportunity to reach the American dream."
Fattah said, "I look forward to working with my colleagues and policymakers around the country to make equity and excellence a reality for every American child and to strengthen America's future for generations to come."