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

Support Scott Substitute Amendment to H.R. 5: Protect the Needs of Students

Advocacy Letter - 02/11/15

Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives

View the PDF of this letter.

Dear Representative:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to support Ranking Member Scott’s Substitute Amendment to H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. The Substitute maintains important federal protections for our nation’s students and is a much needed update to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The amendment replaces the outdated, rigid mandates of No Child Left Behind, and promotes local and state reforms while maintaining bedrock equity protections for all students.

The Leadership Conference believes that the Scott Amendment, unlike H.R. 5, promotes the core American value of equal opportunity in education embodied in Brown v. Board of Education. Specifically, the bill promotes accountability for the achievement and learning gains of subgroups of disadvantaged students, who for generations have been harmed by low academic expectations. The amendment requires states to establish accountability systems that set performance, growth, and graduation targets for of all students, including subgroups of students (low-income, racial and ethnic groups, English learners, and students with disabilities) to ensure all students graduate college and career ready. It gives states flexibility to judge the performance of schools based on multiple measures of student learning and "equity indicators" of school climate and resource equity, while maintaining an important focus on student growth and academic achievement.

States can do better and the federal government should ensure they do so. Federal funding must be fairly distributed and must be attached to firm, ambitious, and unequivocal demands for improvements in achievement, high school graduation rates, and closing of achievement gaps. We know that states, school districts, and schools seek a new law. However, the Student Success Act, H.R. 5, guts hard-won gains in the effort to ensure that all students — especially those who need the most help — get a high-quality education. Therefore, we urge you to oppose H.R. 5 and support the Scott Substitute Amendment.

You will find attached to this letter Shared Civil Rights Principles for the Reauthorization of ESEA, signed by 34 diverse organizations. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Liz King, Senior Policy Analyst and Director of Education Policy, at king@civilrights.org or 202-466-0087, or Nancy Zirkin at zirkin@civilrights.org or 202-466-3311. Thank you for your consideration.

Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President

Our Members