Every kid in Oregon and in America deserves every opportunity for success and that starts with access to a good public education. That’s why I voted for the Every Child Achieves Act, which the Senate passed this week on a bipartisan vote of 81-17.
Every Child Achieves fixes major problems with No Child Left Behind and redefines the role of the federal government in a way that helps – not hinders – our kids.
In Oregon, and across the country, graduation rates are a major concern. This bill lays a better foundation for success, so kids are more likely to graduate, and it includes my plan to give more schools access to grants that can help students who are at risk of dropping out. It’s my hope that governments and school districts will keep working together to make sure all students have the chance to succeed and the tools they need to follow their dreams.
Together with Sen. Boxer, I fought to expand opportunities for kids to enroll in after-school and summer learning programs – because learning isn’t just a 9 month gig. And Sen. Booker and I succeeded in adding an amendment to make sure that our foster and homeless youth are counted in graduation rates. With this important data, educators and policymakers can better support these at-risk students.
There were two provisions that I am very disappointed weren’t included. The first was Sen. Franken’s amendment to provide support and protections to LGBTQ kids in school. School is hard enough. These students deserve more support at school to prevent bullying and report it when it does happen. The second was an amendment to help all kids have the strongest start possible by helping low-income families send their kids to Pre-K.
I will keep fighting for these two provisions because every kid should feel safe at school and have access to early education - no matter who they are or how much their parents make.
There’s clearly much more work to be done. But, as a whole, the Every Child Achieves Act is a good step forward to expanding opportunity through education for all kids – no matter where they come from or how much their parents earn.