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Harkin Statement on First Day of Strengthening America's Schools Act Markup

WASHINGTON—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on the Committee’s completion of the first day of markup of the Strengthening America’s Schools Act, S. 1094.

The HELP Committee will convene again tomorrow, Wednesday, June 12, at 10:00 a.m. to continue the markup in Hart 216. To view live video coverage, visit

“The HELP Committee is charged with an important task: writing the laws that ensure that every child in America receives a great education. The Strengthening America's Schools Act replaces the failed tenants of No Child Left Behind while maintaining our commitment to educating all students to high standards, and making sure that they graduate college- and career-ready. Importantly, it gives states, schools, teachers, and students the certainty, support, and flexibility to achieve these goals.

“Today’s markup of the Strengthening America’s Schools Act was a productive one. We had a spirited debate on the amendments before us, and we voted to include several important provisions--including amendments that would promote dual enrollment programs and early college high schools, and allow for data collection on military-connected students.

“Part A of Title I of the Strengthening America's Schools Act contains vital provisions regarding college- and career-ready standards, performance targets, academic assessments, accountability, and school improvement. Today, we incorporated an amendment to clarify that states are free from these provisions if they choose not to accept federal funding under this title. We cannot step away from our responsibility to educate our most vulnerable children to the highest standards and to help them reach their full potential.

“I stand ready to continue this important undertaking tomorrow, as we continue to work toward the long-overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.”