WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill to replace No Child Left Behind, the nation’s main K-12 education law:
“I’m the product of public schools, and my kids went to the same working class high school I did years earlier. I’ve seen first-hand both the opportunity a good education can create and also the stresses and strains on schools today – the larger class sizes, limited extra-curriculars, loss of arts programs and so on. Education reform is long overdue, and I’m pleased that the Senate passed a bill to improve our schools. In order to unleash our nation’s full capacity, schools must set our young people up for success.
“The Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) is a significant step forward. It would eliminate the one-size-fits-all approach, help to reduce the overuse of high stakes testing, and provide more flexibility in education requirements to better serve students.
“When the bill goes before the conference committee, we must work to improve it so that all children, particularly those most at-risk, can get the education they deserve. This means strengthening the accountability measures within the bill and requiring states to identify and support schools that need additional assistance to serve their most vulnerable students. By doing so, we can help close the achievement gap and ensure all our students are given a fair shot to reach their full potential.”
ECAA includes a provision based on Merkley’s STEM Education in the Global Economy Act, which is designed to increase student access to courses in STEM education subjects and provide additional resources to recruit, train, and support teachers of these subjects.
An amendment authored by Merkley was included in the bill to recognize career and technical education (CTE) as a core subject and promote integrated academic and CTE content in the classroom. During debate, Merkley also offered an amendment that called for a bipartisan budget negotiation to replace the devastating sequester cuts to education.