The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America is calling on Congress to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act when it comes to the floor of the House of Representatives this week.
This legislation will reauthorize and revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which funds local public school districts for specific purposes, such as remedial reading, teacher training, speech and occupational therapy. The “Every Student Succeeds Act” represents the first major reform to ESEA since 2001, when “No Child Left Behind” was passed, and the first reauthorization to ESEA since 2007.
While school districts are mandated by law to deliver ESEA services to all students, including those in non-public schools, school districts often fail to implement these programs. The “Every Student Succeeds Act” includes recommendations from the OU that will greatly improve ESEA’s distribution of equitable services for all students.
Importantly, state education officials will be required to set aside funds for equitable services in private schools and ensure these funds serve eligible children in private schools. Local officials will also be required to distribute funds to qualified private schools in the fiscal year in which the funds were received, which will diminish the potential for waste or misuse of funds that are meant to go to students.
To help ensure this equity for private school students and teachers, the bill will require the state education agency to create an ombudsman position to monitor and enforce the equitable services provision. Private schools will thus have an advocate within the state agency administering the education policy.
The Act also strengthens and streamlines complaint procedures by which private school students can register complaints with the state or federal education agency, and enforces a timeline by which the state must respond.
These are just a few of the many common sense and fair reforms that make it imperative for Congress to pass this education bill.
OU has worked with members of Congress “on both sides of the aisle for many years to improve ESEA for all American children—including those in non-public schools. We encourage the House to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, for the benefit of students in private and public schools alike,” said OU Executive Director for Public Policy Nathan Diament.