The Senate Has Voted to Rollback Civil Rights Protections for America’s Children

When the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law last year, there was bipartisan support for strong systems that would hold schools responsible for the success of each child. However, yesterday the Senate stripped these provisions from the law on a narrow vote of 50-49. As ESSA is a civil rights law, it’s critical that the nation’s signature education policy include protections for our nation’s underserved communities. The protections the Senate voted down would have helped ensure that states are developing accountability systems that serve all of America’s children.

“Today’s repeal undermines important civil rights protections under ESSA that NCLR and other civil rights groups have worked so hard to secure for Latino students, English learners, and other underserved children,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía.

Indeed, securing these strong civil rights protections was critical to our support for ESSA. States are currently developing their implementation plans, and the decision to rollback accountability regulations will only insert chaos into that ongoing process. The provisions the Senate rejected provided states, districts, and other stakeholders with critical information, clarity, and support for drafting state plans and systems that hold schools responsible for the success of each child. Without them, states now have no guidance on how to best serve all kids.

Senator Elizabeth Warren gave an impassioned speech about the importance of ESSA regulations.

“Our Affiliate organizations across the United States will continue ensuring that schools and districts are implementing plans that serve all kids well,” said Murguía. “NCLR will continue working with partner groups and stakeholders to ensure that we are advocating for an education system that’s fair to all of our nation’s children. We urge President Trump to take into account what is in their best interests and veto the legislation.”

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