|11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH)|
The bill is essentially a re-write of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, congressional legislation that re-authorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and that requires, among a host of educational initiatives, standardized testing that teachers unions despise, some of the requirements of which have been lifted under the Obama administration.
The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for a vote.
Fudge voted against the bill after delivering a heated statement against it on the House floor on Wednesday. And she elaborated also relative to the issue in an extensive press release to Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news.
“H.R. 5 is a step backward in our country’s education system, not a step forward," said Fudge, whose largely Black congressional district includes the majority Black major metropolitan city of Cleveland. "This legislation fails our students and their families, and America deserves better.”
The Black federal lawmaker, one of two Blacks from Ohio, the other of whom is Joyce Beatty, a Columbus Democrat who also voted against the bill, said that H.R. 5 "turns back the clock on equity and accountability in American public education."
|U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)|
Boehner said that the bill restores local control, and "empowers parents and local leaders to hold schools accountable for results."
The Republicans control both the House and the Senate.
Congresswoman Fudge said that any re-authorization of the ESEA must ensure the following:
1) That education is properly funded at the state and federal level for all of America’s children;
2) That all students have access to a well-rounded education, which includes subjects like physical education, music, and the arts; and,
3) That students are annually accessed, which allows for parents and teachers to measure student progress.
“H.R. 5 does none of these things," said Fudge. "Instead, it fails our students, our teachers and our families."
The bill drastically reduces education funding, eliminates and weakens protections for disabled students, fails to provide a well-rounded education for all students, and generally makes it more difficult to educate those for whom the act was designed to protect.
“The bill turns Title I funding into a block grant program, disproportionately harming disadvantaged and low-income students," said Fudge. "Schools across the country, including some in my congressional district, rely on these funds to help ensure children are given a fair chance to meet state academic standards."
Fudge said that H.R. 5 also allows Title I dollars to become portable, which would divert much needed funds from the highest need poverty schools and districts.
“H.R. 5 removes requirements for states to ensure that students graduate from high school and are college and career ready," said Fudge. And she says that it hurts kids by lowering educational standards, and that it eliminates much needed co-curricular activities for the children that need them most.
The bill focuses primarily on math and reading assessments without providing programmatic support for literacy, STEM and other subjects that provide a well-rounded curriculum. It eliminates wrap around support services such as after school family engagement, physical, dental and mental health programs, the congresswoman said. And so many of the impacted programs target disadvantaged students that need also to succeed.
(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com).