Monday’s reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, co-sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, is a milestone for education advocates across the county. More importantly, it’s a victory for kids and parents.
By ending the era of No Child Left Behind, Monday’s vote will close a period of one-size fits all teaching and testing that created unfair hurdles for low-income students and students of color in Washington State.
As Washington State’s largest coalition of stakeholders from communities of color working together to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for children of color, the Equity in Education Coalition supports the current plan to roll back No Child Left Behind.
“NCLB re-created a system in which states and school districts were not allowed to differentiate their teaching methodology and take into account cultural differences, trauma, and the needs of ELL and special education students,” says Equity in Education Coalition Executive Director Sharonne Navas.
This one size fits all approach labeled Washington schools as failures and punished kids with funding cuts. NCLB “perpetuated a cycle in which students of color, immigrants and refugees, and students in special education programs were falling through the ever widening gap of educational achievement” says Navas.
As this era in American education draws to a close, advocates for equity and opportunity in our schools are committed to the work that still has to be done. Navas remarked, “Education is nurturing life-long learning. Education is differentiated teaching. Education is the start in life that every child deserves, regardless of their background.”