HELP Chairman Harkin Statement on House Passage of Legislation to Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.--U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Earlier this year, the Senate HELP Committee passed its own ESEA reauthorization, the Strengthening America's Schools Act of 2013.

“Reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is one of my highest priorities. Teachers, families and children of this nation need the certainty of a reauthorization that will ensure access to comprehensive education, teachers who are the most effective, and standards that are world-class. Unfortunately, the House bill, H.R. 5, falls short on all these counts. It is important that any reauthorization of the ESEA remain true to the original intent of the law—to ensure that all children, particularly those who are disadvantaged, have access to the highest quality education.

“In June, the Senate HELP Committee approved its own bill to reauthorize ESEA, the Strengthening America’s Schools Act, which replaces the one-size-fits-all requirements of No Child Left Behind and gives states the flexibility to institute their own college- and career-ready standards, performance targets, academic assessments, and accountability models that will improve our schools. We have a responsibility to ensure that all of our students are educated to high standards, and to aggressively close achievement gaps that leave disadvantaged students less prepared for post-secondary education and their careers. While I am encouraged that there is movement in the House of Representatives to reauthorize ESEA and look forward to completing work on a full reauthorization, there are significant differences between H.R. 5 and our reauthorization efforts in the Senate that will need to be reconciled.”