TUCSON, AZ – Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement today after a week of meetings with parents, faculty, school board members and superintendents throughout Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District to discuss the impact of legislation being offered by Congressional Republicans to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). That bill – H.R. 5, or the Student Success Act – dramatically reduces the role that the federal government can play in ensuring all students have the opportunities afforded by a strong education.
“Far from reauthorizing or strengthening ESEA so that every child in America – regardless of background or circumstance – has the opportunity to achieve their dreams, H.R. 5 undermines our ability to help those most in need, and absolves responsibility when those students are ultimately left behind,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Gone are requirements for states to set high standards, or for schools to show improvement among English Learners and students with disabilities. In their place, the GOP is offering nothing but schemes to funnel federal dollars away from kids in need.”
H.R. 5 cuts drastically from school budgets, turning vital programs into block grants or eliminating funding entirely. Data released by the U.S. Department of Education finds that under the Republican proposal, school districts with the highest concentration of Latino students could lose more than $1.9 billion in federal funding. Tucson Unified School District in Rep. Grijalva’s home community stands to lose nearly $33 million over a 5 year span compared to current funding levels.
“The GOP is showing its true colors when it comes to an issue impacting Hispanic, African American, Native American and poor communities, and once again, those communities are worse off under Republican plans,” Grijalva continued. “Education is the single greatest avenue of upward mobility in our society – cutting $3 billion in targeted education funds is a direct affront to that legacy. The fact that those funds are being denied to districts serving high concentrations of poor and minority students – including my home community of Tucson – is nothing short of appalling. The students of today will be our leaders tomorrow, and they deserve better than to have their futures squandered by some political funding scheme.
“Given Arizona’s drastic divestment in education under Governor Ducey and the Republican legislature, the families in Arizona and Tucson are experiencing an abandonment of opportunity and equality for all children.”
On February 26th, Congressman Grijalva joined with Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair Rep. Linda Sanchez and fellow CHC Education Taskforce Co-Chair Ruben Hinojosa in sending a letter to Reps. John Kline and Todd Rokita, Chairmen of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and its Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, respectively, expressing their strong opposition to H.R. 5.
Full text of the lawmakers’ letter can be found here.