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Booker, Menendez, U.S. Education Secretary King Host Education Roundtable

October 6, 2016

MONTCLAIR, NJ – Today, U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez (both D-NJ) were both joined by U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. in hosting a roundtable discussion with local students, educators and community leaders on New Jersey’s implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which takes important steps to ensure that every student in our country has access to a high-quality public education.

“Every single student deserves access to a high quality education to open doors and help them reach their full potential,” said Sen. Booker. “I was proud to write provisions included in this law that establish meaningful ways to support homeless and foster youth, protect our most vulnerable students, and invest in our dedicated teachers. ESSA reaffirms the federal government’s commitment to supporting student, teacher and school success while moving us away from the broken No Child Left Behind era, and I am pleased to join Secretary King and Sen. Menendez in highlighting its importance in New Jersey.”

“Education is the key to unlocking a child’s full potential, allowing them to fulfill their dreams,” said Sen. Menendez. “ESSA represents a critically important step towards fixing the failures of No Child Left Behind, and ensuring a quality education system for New Jersey students, parents and teachers by rejecting a one-size-fits-all approach for one that is more balanced.  The law also gives student-athletes and their parents greater peace of mind by adopting safety provisions based on parts of my SAFE PLAY Act to provide federal funding for states and school districts to develop and implement student-athlete safety plans under a new grant program.  I will continue to work with Secretary King and Sen. Booker to ensure New Jersey students receive the high-quality education they deserve.”

ESSA, which was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Obama late last year, replaces the 14-year old No Child Left Behind law.  The new law, which states and districts are implementing around the nation, offers an opportunity to uphold the civil rights legacy of this law, and provide access to a high-quality, well-rounded education so all children can be prepared for success in college and career.

Sen. Booker was successful in drafting several key provisions included in ESSA that help strengthen our nation’s education system.  Among them provides essential information for teachers, policy makers and community groups to better support our nation’s foster children and homeless youth, and another strengthens working conditions for teachers by asking school districts to conduct an assessment identifying opportunities to provide teachers with additional support for their long-term professional development.

Sen. Menendez was able to secure provisions that would allow federal funding to be used to develop and implement student-athlete safety programs under a new Title IV grant program. These programs may include concussion safety, cardiac conditions like cardiomyopathy, and heat and humidity safety. The bill also allows states to use funding to supply schools with evidence-based materials relating to student-athlete safety and these types of conditions.