Reauthorizing the ESEA

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has an op-ed in the Washington Post today that explains why reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the main federal education law, can happen in the new Congress:

In fact, the work has been underway for much of the past year, and few areas are more suited for bipartisan action than education reform…Both Republicans and Democrats embrace the transparency of NCLB and the requirement to disaggregate data to show achievement gaps by race, income, English proficiency and disability.

Education reform picked up considerable steam over the last few years, with many of the states taking the lead. Last year, 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands developed a set of common core standards that all states can voluntarily adopt.

Says Duncan:

The urgency for reform has never been greater. Today, American students trail many other nations in reading, math and science, and a quarter of them do not graduate high school on time. Many college students do not finish, despite the clear national need for more college-educated workers who can successfully compete in the global economy.

President Obama in 2009 set a national goal that America will once again lead the world in college completion by 2020. With our economic and national security at risk, this is a goal Republicans, Democrats and all Americans can unite behind.