Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on House Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act

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Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on House Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act

December 2, 2015

"It is good news for our nation's schools that the House has passed a serious bipartisan plan to fix the No Child Left Behind law. No Child Left Behind is the latest, now outmoded version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is, at its core, a civil rights law. Educators and leaders throughout this country have been clear in the need for an updated law, and we have joined them in that call for half a decade.

"We are encouraged that the bill passed by the House today would codify the vision that we have long advocated for giving a fair shot at a great education to every child in America – regardless of zip code. Nearly a year ago, I gave a speech setting the frame for what I believe is essential in the nation's preeminent education law. The bill that the House passed today reflects more of that vision than nearly any observer expected. It requires – for the first time in law – that every student in America be taught to high learning standards that will prepare them for college and a career. And it requires that schools – on a statewide basis – annually assess students' progress toward those standards, providing vital information to educators, families and communities. In a crucial step to protect civil rights, it enshrines in law the expectation that where schools serve students poorly or have low graduation rates over extended periods of time, and where groups of students aren't making progress, there will be accountability and action for change. It removes a harmful proposal from an earlier House bill that would have taken funds from the neediest students and schools. It doubles down on our investments to expand quality preschool. That's one of the most powerful steps we can take as a country to ensure opportunity for all students and a centerpiece of the Administration's education agenda. And it helps to support and grow local innovations, including for evidence-based and place-based innovations developed by local educators and leaders, consistent with our i3 and Promise Neighborhoods programs; and for the expansion of high-quality charter schools, serving high-need students.

"Our nation deserves a law that prioritizes both excellence and equity for our students and supports great educators. We are pleased the House has voted in strong bipartisan fashion in favor of a bill that does that, and we look forward to the Senate moving quickly to do the same."