Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker today issued the following statement after the Senate voted on the reconciled version of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). On Monday, Booker announced his support for the education bill while joining Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) President Wendell Steinhauer on a conference call to urge the Senate to pass the legislation, which takes important steps to ensure that every student in our country has access to a high-quality public education.
“Our youth are the most valuable natural resource we possess as a nation and we must do everything possible to invest in their success. I opposed an earlier version of this bill this summer, but support it today because the changes that have been made since reaffirm the federal government’s commitment to supporting student, teacher and school success while moving us away from the broken No Child Left Behind era. After talking with New Jersey parents, teachers, and kids throughout the process of considering this legislation, it’s clear we need to reset the conversation about childhood education in this country, and this bill marks an important step forward.
“I fought to ensure today’s compromise included two of my amendments that improve teacher working conditions, and establish meaningful ways to support homeless and foster youth. The bill also includes important provisions I fought for that require states to develop a more comprehensive accountability system, while maintaining a focus on our nation’s most disadvantaged youth, which will help us raise the expectation that all kids should have an equal shot at a good education, regardless of where they live.
“I want to thank Senators Alexander and Murray for shepherding through this important and balanced bill. We cannot succeed as a nation in an increasingly global, competitive economy if we leave genius on the sidelines. This legislation will help the next generation to succeed.”
ESSA represents a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act originally signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. ESSA seeks to improve our nation’s public education system by replacing the14-year old No Child Left Behind law and providing states increased control over schools.
The Every Student Succeeds Act contains two amendments offered by Sen. Booker that provide essential information for teachers, policy makers and community groups to better support our nation’s foster children and homeless youth and 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.