07.16.15

Bipartisan Education Bill Featuring Gardner Amendments Passes Senate

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) praised the passage today of the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act. The Act, which passed by a large majority, includes three sections authored by Senator Gardner and one amendment which he co-sponsored with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).                                                                                                    

“The passage of the Every Child Achieves Act is an important step towards reforming the federal government’s role in education and returning control to where it belongs: our states and local communities,” Gardner said. “This bill goes a long way towards getting Congress out of the classroom, and it prevents the federal government from forcing Common Core into schools. 

“Members of both parties were able to come together to get this bill passed, and I’m proud to have offered language and amendments which were included in the final bill. Empowering parents, students, and teachers instead of federal bureaucrats is absolutely the key to building the education system America needs for the future.” 

Language authored by Senator Gardner and included in the Every Child Achieves Act include: 

 - Expanding Concurrent and Dual Enrollment Amendment: Allows local educational agencies to use funds for concurrent enrollment and dual enrollment programs at eligible schools, enabling high school students to simultaneously receive college credit from courses taught by college-approved teachers in secondary education. Additionally, it requires a partnership between the school district and college or university to promote teacher professional development to ensure quality standards are being met and provides flexibility funds to cover expenses for concurrent enrollment including but not limited to tuition, mandatory fees, books, and required instructional material. The text of the amendment is available here. 

 - Recognizing Charter Schools Amendment: Requires State Educational Agencies and local educational agencies to consult with public charter school representatives in the development of their Title I plan. Although Charter Schools are some of the highest performing schools in the country, they are not currently consulted during the development process while several other groups are consulted. The text of the amendment is available here.                                          

 - STEM Skills Gaps Pilot Program Language: Creates a pilot program that provides grants to schools that want to alter their curriculum to close skills gaps in STEM fields identified by local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) - a network of federal, state and local offices that support economic expansion and development of talent in the nation’s workforce. This language, authored by Senator Gardner, was included in the underlying bill. The text of this language is available here. 

Additionally, Senator Gardner is a co-sponsor, along with Senator Warren (D-MA), of: 

 - Data Transparency Amendment: Ensures that states provide academic assessment and graduation rate data in a way that can be easily cross-tabulated on their state report card sites for each subgroup of students, further disaggregated by race, gender, English proficiency, and disability. The ECAA already requires State Report Cards to include academic assessment and graduation rate data on subgroups, however oftentimes greater issues can be masked without further disaggregation. This amendment would give states the flexibility to decide to cross-tabulate additional subgroups of their choice, depending on the unique demographics of their state, to provide transparent information about where greater problems lie within a community where subgroups collide. The text of the amendment is available here.