4 Education Fails for Congress
It is difficult to grade the 113th Congress’ work on education. We know that this Congress is on track to be one of the least effective ever (passing only 142 bills so far). But does that mean we give them an Incomplete or an F on their education report card? If it were up to me, I’d give them an F on four basic education goals.
Among the tasks the 113th Congress flunks
1. Reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind Act: F
This legislation, which establishes federal education programs and priorities, is years overdue for reauthorization. While some bills have been proposed, Congress has yet to pass them. In the absence of new legislation, the priorities and standards of the previous reauthorization remain in effect, even though they’re widely regarded as unrealistic. Reauthorizing the ESEA would show Congress’ support for education policies that provide equitable opportunities for all students. Learn about AAUW’s position on ESEA.
2. Moving on the Higher Education Act: F
TheHEA is the most significant federal law for colleges and universities, governing dozens of student financial aid programs. It’s also overdue for reauthorization. Since higher education is now a requirement for most good-paying jobs, it’s time for Congress to act. Read about AAUW’s position on the HEA.
3. Keeping students safe: F
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits any form of sex discrimination in public and private institutions that receive federal financial assistance. Improving student safety should be one of Congress’ top priorities, and legislation has been introduced in both chambers on this issue — but it hasn’t seen much action. AAUW is working to get many of these bills passed into law. Learn about AAUW’s position, and find resources to improve campus safety.
4. Supporting public education: F
Evidence continues to demonstrate that vouchersdo not improve student performance and instead siphon precious taxpayer dollars (estimated at more than $1 billion this year alone) from public schools. Yet Congress continues to fund federal vouchers through a Washington, D.C.-based program. This needs to end, and more resources need to be devoted to public schools so that all children have access to high-quality education. Read about AAUW’s position on vouchers.
A strong education system is vital for our country’s economic health, and Congress hasn’t passed what’s necessary to protect and improve our schools. So, are we going to let them repeat the same course for the next Congress, or, during this critical election year, are we going to let them know they flunked and call for change?
You can literally call for change by calling Capitol Hill at 202.224.3121 and asking to speak to your elected officials’ offices. Tell them you want them to move on these proposals. You can also work for change by voting on November 4 for the candidates you think would be best for education. We won’t stand for children failing out of school, and we won’t stand for Congress failing our children.