Congress leaves ‘No Child Left Behind’ behind

Dear Friends,

Fifty years ago, when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 establishing the nation’s main federal K-12 education law, he declared that “education is the only valid passport from poverty.” Over the past five decades, this landmark civil rights law has provided valuable federal funds to our nation’s poorest school districts, raised academic expectations in our nation’s classrooms, and helped to bring about significant gains among students in our most vulnerable communities. 

Throughout my career, few issues have been more important to me than raising student achievement and improving America’s schools. I am pleased to have once again worked across the aisle to help make K-12 education a top priority in the U.S. Senate. The Every Student Succeeds Act will go a long way toward making sure that all students in Delaware and across the country– no matter their zip code, their race, or their economic status – have access to an education that prepares them to achieve success in the classroom and go on to meaningful careers.Last week, Republicans and Democrats joined together to update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for the first time since Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. This new bipartisan law – the Every Student Succeeds Act – replaces No Child Left Behind, and makes long-overdue improvements to our nation’s federal education laws. The bill eliminates the overly prescriptive and punitive aspects of No Child Left Behind, while reaffirming the federal government’s role in ensuring that states set rigorous academic standards across the board. The new law will provide much-needed flexibility that will empower states, school districts, educators, and parents to develop locally-driven plans to continue raising student achievement.