07.08.15

Gardner Offers Provisions to Strengthen Every Child Achieves Act

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the following statement today as the Senate begins consideration of the Every Child Achieves Act, bipartisan legislation that addresses the problems with No Child Left Behind by empowering the states with the authority to determine how to best improve student achievement:

“Removing Congress from the classroom and providing states with greater authority and flexibility is central to improving academic success,” said Gardner. “The Every Child Achieves Act recognizes that, and the amendments I introduced and am supporting build upon its strengths. Collectively, these provisions make it easier for high school students to receive college credit, provide charter schools with a seat at the table in the plan development process, and extend flexibility to schools seeking to better prepare students for STEM-related careers. I look forward to an open and full debate.”

Sen. Gardner has introduced the following amendments:

  • Expanding Concurrent and Dual Enrollment Amendment: Allows local education 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.
  • 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.
  • STEM Skills Gaps Pilot Program Amendment: 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.

Sen. Gardner is a cosponsor of the following amendments:

  • Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Amendment: Provides states with greater flexibility to use federal education funds, reduces the administrative burden on state and local education agencies, and increases transparency about how federal education funds are used.
  • Supporting Our English Learners Amendment: Provides funds for states to provide interpreters, translators and linguistically responsive materials for English learners.
  • Data Transparency Amendment: Ensures that states publicly report academic assessment and graduation rate data 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.