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Congresswoman Betty McCollum Statement for the Record Student Success Act (H.R. 5)

July 19, 2013
Statements For the Record

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to the partisan House Republican plan to destroy and dismantle the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).   Simply, this bill, H.R. 5, abandons our national commitment to equity in education for all K-12 students.  

For decades, Members of Congress - on both sides of the aisle - had supported the need for targeted resources designed to help our nation’s disadvantaged students and close achievement gaps.   But unfortunately, House Republicans have decided to turn their backs on our most vulnerable students in this bill. They are gutting education funding. They are removing protections for students with disabilities.  They are making it easier to divert money away from poor and minority students.   The Republican bill abandons the children who need us the most.

There is no doubt that the current law under No Child Left Behind is in need of serious reform. I voted against No Child Left Behind in 2001 and I know Minnesota schools, educators, and parents have had problems with it from the beginning.

Today I do stand in strong support of the Democratic alternative.  It repeals the inflexible Adequate Yearly Progress requirements and replaces them with a focus on student growth and preparation.  It includes policies to ensure that all students have a well-rounded education including science, the arts, and languages.  It supports innovations in education with investments in educational research and technology, high-quality charter schools, and comprehensive school plans to reduce bullying and keep all students safe. 

Our families, our educators, and our communities deserve K-12 education legislation that ensures all students have access to a world class education.  Congress should be passing legislation that invests in our neighborhood schools, supports the development of effective teachers and principals, and helps students prepare for their future careers.  I urge my colleagues to embrace real education reform by voting for the Democratic alternative and against the underlying bill.

(The Democratic Substitute Amendment by Rep. Miller failed by a vote of 193 –233.  The underlying bill, H.R. 5, passed on a partisan basis with 221 Republicans voting for the bill and all Democrats and 12 Republicans voting against the bill.)