The Obama administration signaled this week that it is making reauthorization and strengthening of the main federal education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), a priority for 2010. The ESEA was last reauthorized in 2002 as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
The administration has proposed a number of ways to improve the law in order to decrease the achievement gap between White and low-income and minority students. In addition, President Obama included in his proposed budget for 2011 a $3 billion increase in funding for the ESEA programs, the largest increase ever requested for the law.
The NCLB reauthorization sparked fierce debate among policymakers, education experts, and advocates. However, it is widely agreed that the NCLB reauthorization effectively shined a spotlight on the achievement and opportunity gap in our nation’s school.
The Leadership Conference has long supported the goals of ESEA and has urged Congress to reauthorize and strengthen the law, while maintaining accountability for all students and doing more to help raise standards, improve schools, and support teachers. While still in full effect, the law should have been reauthorized in 2007, but Congress was unable to do so.
“Reauthorization of ESEA cannot continue to be delayed. Our nation is facing a dropout crisis and too many of our children are not getting the opportunity to graduate high school, ready for college and a career,” said David Goldberg, senior counsel and senior policy analyst at The Leadership Conference. “So we are pleased that the Obama administration has made education reform a major priority and we will work actively with the administration and Congress to get a strong bill.”