In testimony before the House Committee on Education and Labor, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the main education law that provides federal assistance to the nation’s public schools, is a critical piece of the Obama administration’s agenda.
“We have made extraordinary progress in meeting the needs of our schools and communities in the midst of financial crisis and recession, making long-needed reforms in our federal postsecondary student aid programs, and reawakening the spirit of innovation in our education system from early learning through college,” Duncan said. “The next step to cement and build on this progress is to complete a fundamental restructuring of ESEA.”
Duncan’s testimony also highlighted President Obama’s budget proposal for 2011, which includes an increase of $3 billion for ESEA – the largest ever requested increase for ESEA. The administration’s reauthorization proposal would also consolidate 38 existing programs into 11 to promote efficiency, support innovative practices, and more closely meet community needs while increasing focus on the most disadvantaged students and schools.
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.