Carper Votes to Approve Bipartisan Education Reform Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) voted for Senate passage of the Every Child Achieves Act – bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to reauthorize and improve the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The measure was approved by a vote of 81 to 17, and will now be sent to conference where differences between the Senate and House versions will be reconciled.

“Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander have proven that the Senate can work across party lines to address one of the most challenging issues facing our nation – improving the education of our children and once again leading the world in K-12 education,” said Senator Carper. “Throughout my career, few issues have been more important to me than raising student achievement and improving America’s schools. As Governor of Delaware, I spent eight years focused on ensuring that all students in the First State have access to an education that enables them to reach higher standards. Upon my arrival in the Senate in 2001, I had the chance to work on No Child Left Behind, which was the last time Congress reauthorized our nation’s key federal K-12 education law. It’s been fourteen long years. It’s time we made improvements and updated the law to reflect the lessons we’ve learned since 2001.”

“That said, I believe that if something isn’t perfect, we must work to make it better,” Sen. Carper continued. “As this bill moves to conference, we must do more to ensure States and school districts continue to focus on providing resources and support to disadvantaged children and to the lowest performing schools. We have a responsibility to make sure that all students – 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. Before this bill goes to President Obama for his signature, we should go further to make good on that promise.”

Senator Carper introduced two bipartisan amendments that were accepted and passed today as part of the Every Child Achieves Act.

Senator Carper was joined by Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) to offer a provision that strengthens the role of charter school leaders as states and school districts develop their Title I plans. Under current law, state departments of education must consult with a range of key stakeholders. The Carper-Gardner amendment adds representatives from charter schools to the list of stakeholders.

Another provision, which Senator Carper offered with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), strengthens programs that prepare and support principals and school leaders. Research shows that the best principals and school leaders have a powerful multiplier effect that can dramatically improve the quality of teaching and raise student achievement. Under current law, programs to attract, retain, and support effective principals and school leaders in high-needs schools are underutilized and underfunded. The Carper-Ayotte amendment ensures that states use federal dollars more efficiently to support activities that improve the quality of principals and school leaders.