Washington, DC – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement on President Obama’s speech today pushing for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) before kids start school next Fall.
Bennet, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is a former superintendent of Denver Public Schools and is a member of the extended negotiation table currently crafting the NCLB reauthorization. Recently, he joined a group of moderate Democrats laying out a set of school improvement principles. He was named a Top Education Activist in 2011 by Time Magazine.
“We can no longer accept a reality in which four out of five schools fail our kids and the zip code you’re born into determines the quality of education you receive. The president rightly called on Congress to fix No Child Left Behind without delay so we can begin the difficult but important task of improving our system of public schools.
“Our goal in Washington must not be to impose, but to expect and support: expect the most of our educators and students and support them as they work, together, to meet those expectations. Rather than tightening its grip, Washington should instead set clear, ambitious goals and support innovative local efforts to achieve them. We need to continue transparency and accountability toward meeting high goals and closing achievement gaps. And, we need to use systems like the Colorado Growth Model, which measures student growth and actually tells us how much progress we are making toward our goals.
“As a former superintendent of schools, I know how difficult it can be to bring change to public education, but I also know that progress is possible. Positive change will come from innovative ideas at the local level, not from Washington. That’s why we need to create flexibility, support innovation, and reduce red tape that only impedes progress in our schools.
“By working together and making bipartisan fixes to No Child Left Behind, we have the chance to change the odds for our kids and provide every student with a quality, competitive education. By fundamentally transforming our schools for the better, we can ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.”