Gardner Amendments Included in Conference Agreement to Strengthen Childhood Education

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today that the House-Senate conference committee reached an agreement on legislation to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act, and included amendments he introduced to strengthen and improve childhood education. The conference committee, which was tasked with reaching a compromise between the Senate-passed Every Child Achieves Act and the House-passed Student Success Act, has referred its proposal to the House and the Senate to receive a vote before it is sent to President Obama to be signed into law.

“I’m pleased the House-Senate conference committee reached an agreement swiftly and included provisions I authored that will not only benefit students in Colorado, but throughout the country,” said Gardner. “A bipartisan compromise, the legislation represents a significant step forward toward removing Congress from the classroom and updating federal education policy to refocus on students, the very people it was designed to help succeed. I look forward to this legislation moving through the legislative process, and I applaud the conference committee for producing an agreement that members from both sides of the aisle can support. It’s time we return responsibility to the states and empower those who know how to best ensure student’s thrive in the classroom: school districts, parents, teachers, and students."

Language authored by Gardner and included in the House-Senate conference committee proposal 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.       


Additionally, Senator Gardner co-sponsored: 

 - 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


Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.