Loebsack Backed Legislation to Improve K-12 Education Passes House

Written by Theresa Rose on December 3, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the House of Representatives passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation replaces the outdated No Child Left Behind and ensures children across the country have access to a quality education and important resources and opportunities that will prepare them for college and career. The bill was passed by a bipartisan vote of 359-64 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“As someone who grew up in poverty, I know firsthand how important education is for kids to get ahead in life. With the passage of this legislation, our nation’s schools finally have the meaningful reform that students and teachers have long needed. The Every Student Succeeds Act ensures that all students graduate from high school with college and career-ready skills by investing in our children’s education and our country’s future economic growth. I am proud that many of my priorities have been included in this bipartisan, compromise legislation.”

As a former member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Loebsack worked to ensure his proposals were included in this bipartisan compromise. Loebsack’s Schools of the Future Act, which provides resources to rural schools for improving their education technology programs, was included in the House version of the bill as an amendment that was passed on a bipartisan vote. Loebsack’s amendment paved the way for the creation of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program, a new $1.6 billion dedicated funding stream, up to 60 percent of which can be used by districts to support the effective use of technology in schools. This new fund will be distributed based on need, with a large proportion flowing to rural schools, and can be used to:

· Provide educators, school leaders and administrators with the professional learning tools, content and resources to provide high quality digital learning;

· Provide students in rural, remote, and underserved areas with the resources to take advantage of high-quality digital learning experiences, digital resources, and access to online courses taught by effective educators;

· Build technological capacity and infrastructure;

· Develop or use innovated or effective strategies for the delivery of curricula through technology;

· Carry out blended learning projects; and

· Provide professional development for educators in the use of technology to increase student achievement.

The Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program also supports two of Loebsack’s other priorities, including:

· Improving mental health supports and services in our schools. Funding from this grant can be used to hire more mental health personnel including counselors, school psychologists, social workers and other instructional support personnel, a priority Loebsack advanced in his Reducing Barriers to Learning Act.

· Supporting community involvement by encouraging schools to partner with public, private, nonprofit and community-based entities to address nonacademic factors affecting student academic performance, which mirrors Loebsack’s Working to Encourage Community Action and Responsibility in Education (WE CARE) Act.