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Cortines, Zimmer praise passage of federal ‘No Child’ rewrite

Craig Clough | December 9, 2015

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RamonCortinesLA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines and board President Steve Zimmer joined a chorus of praise today from state education leaders as the Senate passed a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, which is now known as the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The bill now awaiting the signature of President Obama cuts back on federal oversight of education and shifts much of the power to the states, which will be crafting their own accountability systems that will go into effect for the 2017-18 school years.

LA Unified, along with five other districts part of the California Office of Reform Education (CORE), has been receiving federal waivers from the provisions of NCLB after demonstrating its accountability system was more robust that what NCLB called for.

“We are pleased with the overall balance in the bill regarding accountability and school improvement,” Cortines said in a statement. “As a leader in the CORE districts, which received a federal waiver from many of the unworkable NCLB requirements, we look forward to working with the California Department of Education in designing the state’s new school accountability system. We are hopeful that we will be able to continue implementing the many positive reforms included in our waiver. LAUSD is committed to its work to close the achievement gap, boost overall student achievement and increase high school graduation rates.”

Zimmer said he hopes the new direction will also come with new funds.

“With the passage of this bill, we implore Congress to increase funding in the Fiscal Year 2016 education appropriations bill for critical ESEA programs, including Title I, in order to assist states and school districts in implementing the reauthorized ESEA,” Zimmer said in a statement. “Increasing the federal share of funding for students with disabilities is also of utmost importance to us.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has already offered his praise of the bill when the House passed it on Dec. 2.

“This legislation ushers in a new era in education. I”m pleased that it follows the lead of California in so many important areas, including enhancing local control and providing more flexibility to the states to set up accountability systems that look at multiple measures of success rather than placing so much emphasis on one test,” Torlakson said in a statement. “California is currently in the process of doing just that. I am also glad the legislation encourages states to reduce unnecessary and wasteful testing just as California has done over the years.”

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the chair of the Senate Afterschool Caucus, also praised the bill and the money it dedicates to after-school programs.

“This legislation preserves a dedicated funding stream for afterschool programs so that more than 1 million children will continue to have a safe, enriching place to go when the school day ends,” Boxer said in a statement. “The bill also helps states support high-quality afterschool programs, encourages parental engagement and ensures that afterschool activities complement the academic curriculum.”

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