Schools Should Serve All Children, Not Just SomeJuly 12, 2011
Tomorrow, July 13, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will vote on H.R. 2445, the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act, the third bill seeking to change the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). On the table is a change that would allow school districts to siphon funds away from the poorest schools (Title I schools) — where children, particularly children of color, are struggling academically — and redirect the money to district-wide priorities or to higher-income schools.
Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chair of the committee and the bill’s sponsor, said in a recent interview that local school district administrators should be allowed to defund programs for poor students and English-language learners if they determine that the programs are “not really needed” in certain schools. He wants to make sure school districts can raid the funds from these programs and redistribute them to other schools or district-wide programs that are more politically popular.
As AAUW’s research report Where the Girls Are: The Facts about Gender Equity in Education shows, gains in education achievement are considerably influenced by family income, race, and ethnicity. On standardized tests such as the SAT, children from the lowest-income families have the lowest average test scores. Also, African American and Hispanic children tend to score lower on average than white and Asian American children.
The federal government cannot give up on girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. Its role in education must be to continue to protect the most vulnerable students from this type of attack on their civil rights.
Congress can help make sure we’re preparing everyone in the next generation for success by funding these critical programs and by rejecting this so-called “flexibility” scheme. Read more about AAUW’s position on the ESEA and urge your representative to vote no on H.R. 2445.