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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Promote Equal Opportunity in Education Support the Kirk-Reed-Baldwin-Brown Resource Equity Amendment to S. 1177

Advocacy Letter - 07/08/15

Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. Senate


View the PDF of this letter here.

Dear Senator:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the 31 undersigned organizations, we write to urge you to support the Kirk-Reed-Baldwin-Brown Resource Equity Amendment to S.1177, the Every Child Achieves Act. This amendment builds on existing reporting requirements in the underlying bill and requires states to develop plans to remedy disparities in access to critical educational resources.  We are committed to a level playing field in education and believe that all students should have a fair chance to succeed in school and life. This amendment helps to make progress toward that goal.

We appreciate that the existing targeting of Title I funds to students, schools, and districts in the greatest need was maintained in the underlying bill and that the portability provision was excluded from this bill. We also believe that the new transparency around per-pupil expenditures, school climate and discipline, and access to qualified and effective teachers, principals, and other school leaders will help to identify disparities in educational opportunity. However, while the reporting requirement is robust, there is no requirement to act on the basis of that information. It is critical that states intervene to remedy disparities in access to resources between school districts.

Students, parents, and teachers have long recognized, and court cases at every level have repeatedly held, that schools and districts educating a larger share of low-income students and students of color have less access to the educational resources needed to support student success than their more affluent or White peers.  For example, The Education Trust found in their “Funding Gaps 2015” report that the highest poverty districts receive about $1,200 less per student than the lowest poverty districts.[1]  Further, the Department of Education found in the Civil Rights Data Collection that a quarter of high schools with the highest percentage of Black and Latino students do not offer Algebra II and fewer than half of American Indian and Native-Alaskan high school students have access to the full range of math and science courses in their high school.[2] These disparities are unjust and undermine the goal of college and career readiness for all students.   

The Kirk-Reed-Baldwin-Brown amendment makes progress toward closing these opportunity gaps and should be supported by every member of the Senate.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Nancy Zirkin, Leadership Conference Executive Vice President, at zirkin@civilrights.org, or Liz King, Leadership Conference Director of Education Policy at king@civilrights.org.

Sincerely,


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

AFL-CIO

Alliance for Excellent Education

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Civil Liberties Union

American Federation of Teachers

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Children's Defense Fund

Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates

Easter Seals

Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

League of United Latin American Citizens

NAACP

National Center for Learning Disabilities

National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools

National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

National Disability Rights Network

National Down Syndrome Congress

National Education Association

National Urban League

National Women's Law Center

New Leaders

PolicyLink

Southern Education Foundation

Southern Poverty Law Center

Stand for Children

TASH

Teach For America

Teach Plus

The Education Trust

UNCF

Our Members