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Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of Mr. Miller's substitute and in opposition to the underlying bill.
We must never forget that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is rooted in the civil rights movement. Since 1965, the role of Federal involvement in the schools has been to eliminate inequality in education, not just provide additional funds for schools to use as they please.
This bill is not a thoughtful response to the concerns of parents, students, teachers, and school officials. It takes several steps backwards. It reduces our investment in education. It would lock in the sequester spending cuts. It treats professional development as an afterthought. It would eliminate Federal investment in science and math education. Yes, the Republican bill does mention science, but the proposal does nothing to tie high accountability measures to science assessments.
A real proposal would not foster an expectation that a lack of improvement is acceptable; a real proposal would have wraparound services; a real proposal would not abandon students with disabilities; a real proposal would not consider professional development as a mere afterthought. We should be considering a proposal that recognizes that Federal investment and high standards in science and other areas, as well as literacy and foreign language development, are critical components to the high-quality education that every student deserves.
I rise in opposition to H.R. 5.
We must never forget that ESEA is rooted in the Civil Rights movement. Since 1965, the role of federal involvement in schools has been to close the skills gap and eliminate inequality in education, not just provide additional funds for schools to use as they please.
I agree with the basic principles of ESEA, but I believe that the law needs reforming. While No Child Left Behind was presented as the means to close the achievement gap between students in good schools and those in underperforming schools, it has not done that.
Unfortunately, the bill presented by the majority is deeply inadequate. It falls short of setting standards and support for the high quality education our students deserve. This bill was not a thoughtful response to the concerns of parents, students, teachers and school officials.
In fact, this bill takes several steps backwards. First, it reduces our investment in education. The underlying bill proposes to eliminate all Maintenance of Effort requirements, which would allow states and school districts to set their own funding levels and begin a race to the bottom. Furthermore, it would lock in the sequester spending cuts. I have yet to meet with any educator or parent who approves of the current sequester cuts to education.
Additionally, this bill treats Professional Development as an afterthought. Helping our teachers hone their schools and develop deep knowledge in their subject areas is critical to our students making progress in the classroom. Yet, the underlying bill does nothing to provide for a real investment in the professional development of teachers. Instead, it requires states and school districts to develop personnel policy through teacher evaluations that are inherently incomplete.
Furthermore, this bill would dismantle federal investment in STEM Education. While this Republicans bill does not mention Science, the proposal does nothing to tie high accountability measures to science assessments. Furthermore, the underlying bill would eliminate the largest and most successful STEM education program, the Math and Science Partnership. This proposal does not include any support for the recruitment and training of STEM teachers.
Passing this bill would mean abdicating our civil rights responsibilities to ensure that all children have access to a quality education.
Rather than voting on this deeply partisan bill, we should be considering a reauthorization proposal that fixes the problems that we know exist. A real proposal would not foster an expectation that lack of improvement is acceptable; a real proposal would not abandon students with disabilities; or a real proposal would not consider professional development a mere afterthought.
Instead, we should be considering a proposal that recognizes that federal investment and high standards in science and STEM fields, as well as literacy, and foreign language development are critical components to the high quality education that every student deserves.
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