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Congressmen: H.R. 5 would fail to protect students, education programs

Congressmen: H.R. 5 would fail to protect students, education programs
MGN Online

POSTED: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 12:06pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 12:42pm

Congressman Pete Gallego announced he reduced the threat of education cuts by voting against H.R. 5, which includes drastic cuts to education funding, removes accountability, and lowers standards for teachers, according to his office.

"Instead of making things better, this legislation guts the core goal that all students should receive a quality education," said Congressman Gallego. "It leaves children behind by taking resources from kids who need it most. Further, this bill encourages states to game the system and lower accountability standards and teacher effectiveness. Already, Texas ranks 50 of 51 in percentage of population who graduated from high school.

His office reported the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Education Association both opposed the bills arguing it would turn the clock back on accountability. 

Congressman Beto O'Rourke felt similary in voting against the bill, claiming it would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind. A Facebook comment stated the following: 

"Teachers, students and parents in El Paso know that the rigid mandates of No Child Left Behind are not working and that the law is overdue for a change. Current law forces teachers to "teach to the test" and stifles students' creativity. It is time to replace NCLB with an approach that sets high expectations for achievement, provides local flexibility to meet the unique needs of individual communities, and ensures federal funds focus on students most in need."

"Unfortunately, H.R. 5 would make a misguided law worse. I voted against it because it lowers academic expectations, reduces access to programs intended to serve disadvantaged students, and slashes education funding to lock in sequestration levels through 2019. In Texas alone, Title I, Special Education grants, and programs for migrant students, English language learners and preschool students would lose over $130 million, harming almost a quarter million students and putting 2,500 education jobs at risk."

"I did however vote for a Substitute Amendment that responsibly funds programs that assist poor students. It holds states and schools accountable to helping students learn without tying their hands; provides intervention and support to all students who may need it; and assures that students with learning difficulties and disabilities are provided an opportunity to learn and graduate from high school. In deciding how to vote on this crucial piece of legislation, I sought input from teachers and education leaders in El Paso. I valued everyone's feedback and particularly wanted to share the articulate and persuasive opinion of one local teacher, who wrote: "At a time when there are more students and families in poverty than ever, this bill walks away from the federal commitment to trying to level the playing field for students H.R. 5 lacks comprehensive plans to address existing inequities in public education that harm students and communities like El Paso."


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