Larsen Votes Against Flawed Republican Education Bill

Jul 8, 2015 Issues: Education

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, today voted against a Republican Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) bill, H.R. 5, that takes funding away from low-income schools and districts and lowers standards designed to improve outcomes for all students.

While the bill included Larsen’s bipartisan Local Taxpayer Relief Act (H.R. 1318) that he introduced with Rep. Kristi Noem, SD, Larsen said H.R. 5 takes the wrong overall approach to education reform. The Local Taxpayer Relief Act would provide Impact Aid payments to school districts that serve large numbers of military families and Indian tribes.

“I have called on Congress to update and reauthorize the flawed No Child Left Behind standards, but this bill would only cause more problems for students, teachers, schools and states.

“My bipartisan Impact Aid bill would ensure permanent, on-time payments for school districts where federal activity like military bases limits funding available to public schools through property taxes. While I am pleased Congress recognizes the value of supporting these school districts, the overall approach that H.R. 5 takes to education reform is wrong. I will continue working to pass my Impact Aid bill as part of an education reform bill that makes the right changes to the law.

“Our country’s public education system should offer a high-quality education to all students, including those facing challenges such as poverty, disabilities, or those learning English for the first time. But this bill cuts support for low-income students by taking funding away from them to be used at wealthier schools. And it does not hold schools accountable for educating students with disabilities and other challenges to high standards.

“Federal law should promote classroom innovations and efforts to prepare students for college and career, like those happening in Washington state. That is why I voted for the Democratic alternative to H.R. 5. This bill would provide robust funding for students and teachers, as well as ensuring students with disadvantages get the support they need to learn and succeed in the classroom.

“Washington state public schools have hardworking students and a strong workforce of dedicated teachers and administrators. They deserve support from the federal government, not more roadblocks to progress,” Larsen said.

Larsen called for Congress to reauthorize and update ESEA, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act, last summer, in light of the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to revoke Washington state’s waiver from the law, which means schools and student test scores must be evaluated under the flawed NCLB standards.