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Congressional Tri-Caucus Statement on Senate Passage of the Every Child Achieves Act

Jul 16, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act (S.1177) to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by a 81-17 vote. Due to the lack of substantive improvements to the underlying bill, the Congressional Tri-Caucus—which is comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)—maintains opposition to S.1177 and calls upon House and Senate leaders to make improvements as the reauthorization process moves forward. The Chairs of the Congressional Tri-Caucus issued the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“The Senate had the opportunity to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) so that every child—regardless of their race, wealth, or background—has the opportunity for a quality education. While the Senate’s bipartisan effort was a big step forward, I am disappointed that the needs of our students are still unmet. Subgroup accountability is not sufficiently addressed, leaving many vulnerable children to fall behind and slip through the cracks. Resources are not equitably distributed to ensure that federal dollars are going to the schools and students that need it the most. And, particularly for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, there is no disaggregated data that would allow lawmakers and other stakeholders to uncover the progress and needs of AAPI subgroups. While the Senate bill is an improvement from our current law, more must be done. As both chambers of Congress move to conference the ESEA bills, I urge my colleagues to put politics aside and fight for our nation’s children.”

Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-1), CBC Chair:

“We oppose the Every Child Achieves Act (S.1177) in its current form as it falls short of the principles outlined by the members of the Tri-Caucus. We must ensure we have adequate safeguards in place to ensure states and school districts are held accountable for the education of every child. We are disappointed our colleagues in the Senate did not make the improvements needed to ensure the bill meets the needs of all students, but appreciate the work of Senator Murray and Senate Democrats to fight for all students and we look forward to rectifying the bill in conference.”

Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), CHC Chair:

“I commend the Senate’s bipartisan effort in reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). However, this week, the Republican-led Senate missed a critical opportunity to reauthorize and improve ESEA with the passage of the Every Child Achieves Act. Any final reauthorization bill must ensure that every child—regardless of zip code—has the chance to receive an equitable, quality education. This bill, unfortunately, falls short. As we move forward towards a conference, we must ensure states are held accountable to each and every child.”

Background:  On June 10, 2015, over 80 Members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus sent a letter to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray, calling for stronger subgroup accountability, resource equity, and disaggregated data for Asian American and Pacific Islander students.