WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress continues its work on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced three pieces of legislation last week that will help create a 21st century education system for all American children.
“Every American child deserves an education that opens up opportunities for success and prepares him or her to compete in a 21st century economy,” said Dodd. “These bills will help fix a number of issues with the No Child Left Behind law that have become obstacles to progress. I’ll continue to work on these reforms and more until every American child is being taught by a great teacher in a great school.”
Dodd’s legislation - The No Child Left Behind Reform Act, The Sandy Feldman Kindergarten Plus (K+) Act, and The Mentoring America’s Children Act of 2010 – will expand and improve upon the No Child Left Behind Act, which was signed into law nine years ago. Summaries of the legislation are below:
Real Accountability for the Real World:
The No Child Left Behind Reform Act improves the landmark legislation by accurately measuring student growth over time, relying on more than just one high-stakes test. It also encourages better teacher performance without the imposition of mandates that make it harder to ensure that students are taught by qualified and dedicated educators.
Learning Starts Early:
The Sandy Feldman Kindergarten Plus (K+) Act helps states to provide kindergarten to disadvantaged children the summer before and the summer after the traditional kindergarten school year. This effort helps address the fact that many low-income children begin kindergarten lagging behind their peers in literacy, math, and social skills.
Every Student Deserves A Mentor:
The Mentoring America’s Children Act of 2010 strengthens the No Child Left Behind mentoring grant program by providing the resources necessary to sustain these programs, ensuring each program’s effectiveness, and most importantly, targeting students who are likely to benefit the most from mentoring - youth growing up in foster care or students in areas that have high rates of crime, gang violence, or drug abuse.
Dodd is a senior member of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Throughout Dodd’s time in Congress, he has fought to expand and strengthen education for all students. Since 2004, Dodd has led efforts to reform the No Child Left Behind Act to ease the burdens on students, teachers, and school leaders without sacrificing the spirit of this law, ensuring that all students leave school prepared to succeed. Earlier this year, as Congress began its work on ESEA reauthorization, Dodd outlined the three fundamental principles for reforming our education system:
Education Is Everyone’s Job
Everyone -- students, teachers, principals, parents, and community leaders – has a stake in our education system. And that means everyone has a role to play and must work together in providing a world-class education for our children.
Address Shortcomings, Reward Excellence
We should set high expectations for our schools – and hold them accountable for meeting those standards. But the goal of accountability measures should be to encourage success, not punish shortcomings. We must make the necessary investments to help struggling schools improve -- while rewarding students, educators, schools, and states that excel.
A Test Score Is Not An Education
Our children need rigorous training in fundamentals to compete in the 21st century economy – but their education should also be well-rounded enough to prepare them for a wide range of opportunities. The way we teach our children and the way we measure the success of our students and schools should reflect those goals.