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Senate & House Have Passed The K-12 Education Bill, “Every Student Succeeds Act,” Which Includes Critical Funding For NY – Previously, Proposed Amendment To Bill Sought To Drastically Change Existing Fed Funding Formula For Title I In Many Eastern States, Effectively Slashing Critical Funds For LI Families & Teachers

Schumer Fought Hard Against Cuts & Successfully Beat Back Efforts To Slash $16 Million In Long Island Funding; Schumer Calls Bill – Now Headed To The President’s Desk For Final Signature – A Major Win For NY State

Schumer: Funding Cuts To LI Were Expelled & Critical Funds Were Saved By The Bell

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that, after his public push, the Senate has voted to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, which includes more than $303 million in federal funding for New York schools, saving $16million that would have been cut from Long Island schools. The House of Representatives passed this bill last week, meaning it is now on its way to the President’s desk for final signature after passing the Senate. This comes after Schumer successfully beat back efforts to pass a proposed amendment that would have significantly cut Title I funding. Schumer explained that the original Senate amendment would have radically changed the current formula used to allocate Title I education funds to K-12 schools, which are the largest source of federal funding for elementary and secondary education and are key to every state’s ability to improve educational opportunities, particularly for children in New York State. Schumer said this passage signifies a major win for the over 680 NY State school districts that rely on this funding each year.

“As a proud product of the New York public school system, I fought hard against this amendment, which would have slashed more than $16 million in critical funding that our Long Island teachers, students and families rely on. Today, I’m proud to say we were able to beat back these proposals and the bill – which provides full Title I funding to NY State – is on its way to the President’s desk for final signature. Expelling these funding cuts from the bill means teachers and school districts across NY State will be able to breathe a sigh of relief,” said Schumer.

Schumer explained that, for the first time in more than 15 years, Congress has voted to reauthorize and make improvements to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, the ESEA was considered at the time the most far-reaching federal overhaul of the national education system. Its purpose was to provide quality education to students of all income levels by providing grants and federal resources to schools across the nation, particularly to districts serving low-income students. Since its enactment, the ESEA has been reauthorized every several years, with substantial changes being made as federal education policy has changed. The most recent, notable change was made in 2001 when the law was reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In April 2015, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously passed a bipartisan rewrite of the ESEA called the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. This legislation was meant to address many of the shortcomings of NCLB. This bill has now been combined with the House of Representatives bill to create the final Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA).

Schumer said this new bill not only provides greater flexibility to states and districts to meet the needs of students while still preparing them for fewer mandated high-stakes tests, it also includes the critical Title I funding that New York school districts depend upon. Schumer explained that, incorporated into the ESEA are several key provisions that cover a wide spectrum of federal education policy, including a critical provision called Title I. The Title I program allows the federal Department of Education to distribute federal funds to school districts and local education agencies (LEA) that serve a high number or percentage of low-income students. However, a proposed amendment to the initial bill, sponsored by Senator Richard Burr [R-NC], sought to change the formula currently used to determine Title I funding allocations for state and local education agencies. Schumer led a public campaign against this particular amendment, as it would have radically and immediately changed the formula that is used by the federal Department of Education to allocate Title I funding to K-12 schools, and thereby cut roughly $100 million to New York. This would have left millions of students and teachers without the critical resources needed to succeed.

During his public push, Schumer urged his colleagues in Congress to reject any amendment to Title I that caused schools, across both New York and the nation, to lose substantial funds so abruptly. Schumer said these Title I funds are the largest source of federal funding for elementary and secondary education, and are key to every state’s ability to improve educational opportunities. These funds are particularly important for children across New York State, where approximately 687 school districts receive more than $1 billion.  Without these funds, Schumer said New York school districts would be financially overwhelmed and unable to provide critical services to students who most need them. Schumer said if this program funding were cut under this amendment, it would have forced school districts across New York State that have long-received Title I funds to lay off teachers, cut supplemental educational programs, or make other dramatic cuts to their services provided to students.

“New York’s schools rely on federal Title I funding to provide much-needed services to students. On behalf of thousands of locally elected school board members in the state, we support the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and appreciate Senator Schumer’s efforts to maintain federal funding levels. Moreover, the Every Student Succeeds Act helps restore the balance between federal, state, and local governments, something we have sought for many years,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

“This legislation ends the federal obsession with high stakes testing that narrowed what was taught in classrooms and did little to close the achievement gap. This new bill makes clear that ‘test and punish’ is no longer the law of the land. We are especially grateful to Senator Schumer and the rest of the New York Congressional delegation for protecting Title I funds for schools in New York City that serve high numbers of our most vulnerable students. It is a proud day when the Senate and Congress listen to parents and teachers across this country and respond to our shared concerns,” said Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers.