Senate Democrats Call for Action on Education Reform

The kids who will be here later today in this
gorgeous facility with great teachers, and great leaders, and
great opportunity are still living in an education system that is not yet aligned to give them the opportunities that they deserve in this amazing country. We have got to get out of this mindset that
we have the one size fits all and we’re doing things
the same as we did a hundred years ago. Until we’re ready to change it’s going to be very hard for principles
and the staffs of these great schools to make any changes. This issue is also an economic imperative uh… in a time with very high job unemployment in our
country we have over 4-million high-skilled, high-wage jobs that are unfilled today. Because we as educators aren’t producing
the knowledge workers who can fulfill those jobs. These numbers are completely unacceptable and they reflect that only a tragic failure
to serve students they represent a great risk to our economy and to our country. Today a
college degree is a prerequisite for success in an educated workforce is a necessity
for our country to compete in the global economy. Our failure to ensure such opportunity for every student
in our country restraining our generation with the unfortunate
legacy of being the first America to leave less opportunity not more. And while well-intentioned
No Child Left Behind has created a system that punishes failure over rewarding success. The law incentivizes states to lower standards
fails to recognize growth and progress and does not provide strong support to schools
that are really struggling to serve their students. Everywhere I go people are begging us
to fix this law and we need to do it now. We would love to have
this done uh… before the August recess
before we go back to school this fall and we have to do it together. Today we have 11 senators that are releasing
a statement laying out the essential principles for the reauthorization of the No Child Left
Behind and we believe that these principles will
drive us toward the student success required for America to compete in the global marketplace
that we are in. We’re gonna roll up our sleeves and get to work we’re going to make sure rather than imposing force we in congress will
expect and support. Expect the most of our educators
and students and support them as they work together to meet those expectations. Rather than tightening our grip we will set clear ambitious goals and support
innovative local efforts to achieve them. Turning around our lowest performing schools, creating an accountability structure based
on student progress instead of the one size fits all motto, supporting teachers and leaders in our high
needs schools, allocating more resources to the schools with
the most low income students. We will create opportunities for innovation, and creativity, and we will require an honest
accounting of how we are using our resources. We will ensure that federal dollars go to
the students who need the most. We have to make sure they we are rewarding excellence, great teachers,
great principles, great schools, great districts, great states
that are raising the bar for
all children and closing achievement gaps. We have to learn from them,
we have to recognize them,
we have to reward them,
we have to incentivize them. These principles are not Democratic or Republican, they’re not Liberal
or Conservative. They’re just consistent with out … national
American values of giving every child, every adult the fullest of range of opportunity.
If we don’t change the obvious flaws in No Child Left Behind and if we don’t do it promptly, thoroughly,
in a bipartisan way we will be failing. Those very children who will gather here later today to read and to dream, it’s my hope that we will not forget them and that we will together be committed to
the sorts of energetic, determined changes to education of which I know secretary Duncan is fully
capable, of which we as Senators are fully capable and of which these children deserve no less.

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