As Senate Debates Education Law Changes, Civil and Human Rights Coalition Ramps Up Advocacy

Media 01.20,15

WASHINGTON – In advance of tomorrow’s Senate hearing on a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is ramping up its advocacy to ensure the federal government protects the rights of minority students, low-income students, and students with disabilities. 

The Leadership Conference’s president and CEO, Wade Henderson will testify at the Senate HELP Committee’s hearing entitled “Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability,” scheduled to begin at 9:30am EST.

The civil and human rights coalition is also hosting a day of action called “#AllStudentsMatter,” which will result in more than 30 parents, principals, and community leaders coming to the nation’s capital to press for the need for a strong federal role in education. Parents will be coming from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington State.

These activities come after The Leadership Conference played a central role in organizing a shared statement of six principles from 24 civil rights and disability rights organizations declaring their key priorities for any ESEA reauthorization.

Below are key quotes from Leadership Conference stakeholders involved with tomorrow’s s hearing and day of action:

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:

“For the sake of our nation’s most vulnerable children, the federal government must continue to hold states and school districts accountable for improving education for all students. Should Congress pass an ESEA bill that erodes the federal government’s power to enforce civil rights in education, it would be a disaster for our nation’s children, our schools, and the longstanding promise of equal opportunity for all.”

Latasha Gandy, Minnesota parent and advocate for a strong ESEA visiting D.C.:

“As a parent, it’s important to keep track of how my children are doing in school and I am not the only parent that feels this way. The annual testing required by the federal government is needed to ensure we know where our children stand every year. As a community, we have to protect the civil rights of all students and ensure they have access to a quality education.”

Rhonda Dixon, Tennessee grandparent and advocate for a strong ESEA visiting D.C.:

“I like that my granddaughter takes an annual test that tells me if she’s where she needs to be and tells me how she’s doing compared to other students. That’s an important progress report to me, on top of her classroom grades.”

Jesus Carillo, Colorado parent and advocate for a strong ESEA visiting D.C.:

“I don’t think states should be left on their own to keep track of how students and schools are performing. ESEA showed us what the achievement gaps are, and now we need to take responsibility—all of us—for closing them.”

To interview Wade Henderson or any of the above community leaders and/or parents who will be in D.C., please reach out to [email protected]

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference, visit