As The Senate Debates The Every Child Achieves Act, Brown Introduces Amendment to Close the Achievement Gap in Public Schools

Legislation Aims to Expand Access to Resources for Learning

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Senate begins debate on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – known as the “Every Child Achieves Act” – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced an amendment alongside U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to help ensure that all schools can provide the resources students need to succeed. The Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources amendment aims to tackle existing disparities in public education by establishing accountability requirements that compel states and school districts to give all students equitable access to the core resources necessary to achieve college and career readiness.

“Too many teachers and schools lack the resources to ensure students can grow and succeed,” Brown said. “That’s why this amendment is so important – not just to close the achievement gap but also to raise the bar for all of America’s students. The amendment would improve access to better trained teachers, to better curricula, and to the opportunity that all students deserve, regardless of their zip code.”

In March 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights published data from a comprehensive survey of schools across the nation, which illustrated the magnitude of the educational opportunity gaps that exist for students in the United States.  The survey found that Black, Latino, American Indian, and Native Alaskan students, as well as students who are English learners, attend schools with higher concentrations of inexperienced teachers.  The survey also found that nationwide, one in five high schools lack a school counselor, and between 10 and 25 percent of high schools do not offer more than one of the core courses in high school math and science, such as Algebra I and II, geometry, biology, and chemistry.

The Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources amendment would establish accountability measures of school quality beyond students’ ability to perform well on standardized tests. Under the amendment, state accountability systems would be required to include measures of fair and equitable access to the core resources for learning, as well as a plan for identifying and addressing any inequities in access to them.  Information about access to these resources would also be reflected on state and district report cards. 

A one pager on the amendment can be found here.

Brown continues to work to ensure high quality education for all students. Today, he introduced a bill that would help schools – with the help of AmeriCorps public service members – implement school turnaround strategies to help students increase their academic achievement, to improve attendance and high school graduation rates, to provide college advising and assistance, and to improve readiness for college and careers. He also introduced the Charter School Accountability Act, legislation that would strengthen charter school accountability and transparency, prevent fraud, and increase community involvement.