No Child Left Behind Reauthorization - H.R. 5 Will Leave Even More Students Behind

Mar 3 No Child Left Behind Reauthorization - H.R. 5 Will Leave Even More Students Behind

February 26, 2015 
Contact: Rita Pin Ahrens

Washington, DC - Tomorrow, the House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 5, Rep. John Kline's (R-MN-2) "Student Success Act," to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), more popularly known as No Child Left Behind. Rep. Kline's bill is a misnomer - it will roll back protections, funding, and support for our most disadvantaged students, especially children of color, low-income students, English language learners (ELLs), students with disabilities, recent refugee and immigrant students, and other underserved students. Many Southeast Asian American students would be left further behind if the Kline bill passes. Rep. Kline's bill would restrict the federal government's role in protecting disadvantaged students, weaken state accountability systems by eliminating annual goals and performance targets for academic achievement, fail to address key disparities in opportunity such as access to high-quality college preparatory curricula, and cut funds for some of the nation's poorest districts.

Our most serious concern is that H.R. 5 would divert funds away from the highest poverty schools and districts to more affluent districts. Title I funding is currently safeguarded to go to schools with the highest population of students who are low-income. The Kline bill's Title I "portability provision" would allow federal dollars currently targeted for high poverty schools to follow students to any school of their choice. This would divert funds away from the highest poverty schools and districts to more affluent districts.

In the following districts, where there are large concentrations of SEAA students, H.R. 5 would severely cut federal education funding up to 45% within the first year of implementation: Los Angeles Unified ($80.6 million), Philadelphia ($44.4 million), Minneapolis ($5.4 million), Fresno Unified ($4.9 million), and Long Beach Unified ($2.4 million). Cutting funds to the nation's highest poverty schools does not make sense and does not uphold the civil rights spirit of ESEA, which was to reduce achievement gaps and create opportunities for the nation's poorest and most disadvantaged students.

SEARAC recommends that:

  • State accountability systems include reducing achievement gaps and improving annual academic performance of students of color, ELLs, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families;
  • States ensure that resources are targeted towards improving the outcomes of students who need the most support;
  • Title I portability is removed and the current requirement that at least 40 percent of students in school-wide Title I programs are from low-income families is retained; and
  • Schools, local education agencies (LEAs), and state education agencies (SEAs) should support and provide resources to families who are underrepresented within the school community due to language or cultural barriers so they can meaningfully participate in the school community and in supporting their children's education.

States, school districts, and schools all desire an updated ESEA. However, this bill in its current form undermines the best interests of our students -- it is a significant step backward especially for our most disadvantaged students.  

SEARAC opposes Rep. Kline's version of the ESEA and urges all Congressional members to do what is right for our great nation and decline the Kline bill in favor of legislation that serves all of our students and provides each and every child the opportunity to truly succeed.

Read SEARAC's full recommendations for ESEA Reauthorization:
SEARAC Recommendations 

See how much money your district might lose in this report:
Investing in Our Future Report