Civil Rights Groups Come Together to Discuss How the Every Student Succeeds Act Can Best Serve Minority Students

On June 19, UnidosUS, the National Urban League, and The Education Trust held a breakfast and roundtable to discuss the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and how to achieve justice for students of color.

The panel of experts argued that states are failing to put children’s rights first in the classroom. Not only that, but that states are flouting the protections for the most vulnerable students under ESSA—and that Secretary of Education Betty DeVos has been letting them get away with it.

ESSA was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law in December 2015. It took effect in the 2017-18 school year. States are required to submit accountability plans to the Education Department, which must then approve their plans.

From left: John King, President and CEO of The Education Trust; Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS; Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League; Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education.

States can pick their own goals, both long-term, short-term and smaller, interim goals, but must include the following: proficiency on tests, English-language proficiency, and graduation rates. The Education Department has approved nearly every state’s plans, except for four that are still outstanding: California, Utah, Florida, and Oklahoma.

Marc Morial, President and CEO of The National Urban League, feels the plans for states that have been approved do not meet the standards for subgroups of students. These subgroups include students who are English learners, students in special education, racial and ethnic minorities, and those in poverty.

Advocates thought the Education Department would look out for these vulnerable groups, but many don’t believe DeVos and her department are doing their job.

See more information and read an article on the event from Education Weekly here.

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