Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement after opposing, H.R. 5, the Republican bill to reauthorize to Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA):
"Today, House Republicans lost sight of investing in the future of our children by passing an education bill that cuts funding by over $1 billion, eliminates provisions that ensure protections for disadvantaged students, and fails to develop and support our teachers.
"Now is the time to invest in areas like education that will grow and develop our future economy, not restrict and eliminate programs that protect our most disadvantaged students. We need to fund programs that create a more equitable education system for English Language Learners, at-risk youth, rural students, Native students, and students with disabilities. We need to provide our children with adequate resources and a prosperous learning environment to advance their education. True reform will establish realistic goals and adequate performance criteria that stakeholders can agree upon to hold schools accountable for providing every student with a quality education. Teachers must be equipped with the support and professional development necessary to meet the needs of increasingly diverse classrooms. Standards should be high, but also attainable and enforceable to ensure our kids are ready to compete in the global economy.
"Unfortunately, H.R. 5 does none of this. It eliminates standards that keep students on a path to graduate and become college and career-ready. It cuts education funding across the board by over $1 billion below 2012 levels and creates block grants that allow funds to be shifted away from English Language Learners, migrant students, native students, or at risk-students. Under the bill, after school programs lose funding and social and emotional support programs are eliminated. The legislation also removes requirements for professional development for teachers and shifts funding support away from teachers in the most at-risk communities.
"We are nearly four years late in reauthorizing our education programs and addressing the negative impact of No Child Left Behind on our schools' ability to succeed. However, this legislation does nothing to improve upon existing laws. Our students deserve better. I supported an amendment offered by Representative George Miller that included critical investments in education, created realistic goals and standards, and protected programs that help ensure all students can achieve and succeed."