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Campaign for High School Equity Calls for Strong Accountability in Federal Education Policy

WASHINGTON (February 29, 2012) — On Tuesday, February 28, the House Education and the Workforce Committee passed the Student Success Act (H.R. 3989), which would amend and reauthorize Title I and other parts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), by a party-line vote of 23 to 16. The bill strips away important civil rights protections in the federal law designed to close achievement gaps and to graduate more students ready for college and careers.

The Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE), a coalition of leading civil rights and education advocacy organizations focused on high school reform, is deeply troubled by the bill’s deleterious impact on all struggling students, and in particular on students of color and Native students. Nearly half of African-American, Latino, Native, and Southeast Asian students fail to earn a high school diploma. Those that do are often not prepared for the challenges of college or entry into careers because they are unable to access and complete rigorous coursework while in high school. Coalition members are especially concerned about the bill’s failure to retain and improve accountability for student achievement and increase graduation rates.

As Congress moves forward with reauthorization, CHSE urges state and local policy makers, educators, and parents to insist on a strong and unapologetic focus on accountability for all schools, including high schools, and to ensure that ESEA strengthens academic performance goals, ensures interventions and supports for struggling students and schools, and prepares all young people for college and careers.

CHSE’s Plan for Success outlines several policies than can reverse the dropout crisis, close achievement gaps, and prepare all young people for success in life. We urge Congress to reject any measure that would erode ESEA’s mission, which is to ensure equal educational opportunity for all children. Since 1965, improving our nation’s schools has been a bipartisan endeavor. Education equity should not be a partisan matter. We urge all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to implement college and career-ready standards and to create public education systems where all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in a global economy.

For more information about CHSE’s policy priorities, visit www.highschoolequity.org/plan-for-success, join the CHSE community on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hsequity, or “follow” the conversation on Twitter @hsequity  and #Plan4Success.

CHSE is a coalition of leading civil rights organizations representing communities of color that is focused on high school education reform. Members include the National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, Alliance for Excellent Education, National Indian Education Association, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.

CHSE is a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Contact:
Kirana Bammarito, (202) 248-5471, kbammarito@vancomm.com

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