Huffman Votes to Replace Broken “No Child Left Behind” Law

December 07, 2015

Washington, DCThis week, Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-CA) voted for bipartisan legislation that reforms federal K-12 education policy. The Every Student Succeeds Act fixes the problems of the broken No Child Left Behind law while maintaining civil rights protections for students. The final conference report for the bill, approved in a bipartisan vote in the House of 359 to 64, supports priorities like environmental education and high-speed broadband infrastructure, while also assisting rural schools that have lost property tax revenue due to nearby federal property.

“The Every Student Succeeds Act puts states and local school districts back in the driver seat, while ensuring that students with disabilities and underperforming children are still prioritized,” Huffman said. “As a country, we need to prepare our students to compete in the global economy. This requires proper funding and resources, a safe learning environment, and a committed local community. This bipartisan legislation, which included environmental learning programs and funding for high-speed broadband that I specifically fought for, will help keep the promise of universal access to quality public education and will provide local schools with the flexibility and resources to close the academic achievement gap.” 

The legislation increases education funding over four years, including for teacher quality, STEM education, arts education, high-speed broadband, and preschool. In particular, the Every Student Succeeds Act’s environmental education provisions come from the No Child Left Inside Act, a bipartisan bill originally authored by Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD), which Huffman has supported since his first year in Congress. The provisions will enhance American students’ environmental literacy by providing federal grant funding for teachers who design and implement environmental education programs in, and importantly, outside of the classroom. By encouraging new environmental curricula, the bill would also cultivate partnerships and strengthen relationships between school districts, colleges, environmental nonprofits, parks, and other community-based organizations.  

The final Every Student Succeeds Act also replaces the flawed federal accountability system with a comprehensive state-designed system that allows states to more accurately identify and provide support and resources to struggling schools. This new accountability system builds on state-led innovation in measuring school quality and would require action to improve student learning in the state’s lowest-performing schools, schools with high dropout rates, and schools in which certain students are consistently underperforming. 

For more information about the bill click here.