Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, released the following statement this morning after the House passed the badly misnamed Student Success Act (H.R. 5).
“This bill rolls back forty-five years of progress in giving disadvantaged and low-income children a good education. If we expect American students to succeed, in this country or in the global economy, our first priority has to be adequately funding their education. Instead, this bill makes almost gleefully destructive cuts in education funding and shifts taxpayer dollars to private entities. It is an ideological exercise in bad governance.
“Among many other glaring flaws, this bill directs less teacher training funds to students in poverty, eliminates requirements that schools improve the education of English Language Learners each year, removes existing accountability rules that have led to higher high school graduation rates, and allows students with disabilities to be taught to separate and lower standards. It eliminates dedicated funding for after-school, school safety, and social support programs. It also leaves untouched a federal loophole that allows districts to spend more money in wealthier schools than in poorer ones.
“Outside the Republican Party in Washington, this bill has no constituency. It is designed to please a niche political base, not to advance the cause of education in this country. It is opposed by the White House, by business leaders, by the civil rights community, by organized labor, by disability advocates and by leading education organizations. There was no reason to pass this bill except to tick a box on a badly prioritized to-do list.
“We have been debating bills of this kind for more than a decade now. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that shoving ideology down students’ throats hasn’t done anyone any good. The Student Success Act walks away from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s historic commitment to giving each of America’s children a high-quality education. Continuing any further down this path will be disastrous, and I hope the people who supported the bill today explain back home why they voted the way they did.”