July 22, 2015
On Thursday, July 16, the U.S. Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) on a
vote. This bill reauthorizes the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and is similar to the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on July 8. Since its inception in 1965, the ESEA has continually upheld the principle that students in need deserve an equitable share of services and benefits, whether they attend a public or nonpublic school. However, since the Act's most recent reauthorization in 2001, equitable services have steadily eroded. The recent measures passed by the House and Senate restore equity and strengthen historical safeguards designed to insure the fair and equitable treatment of nonpublic school students and their teachers. Congress will next proceed to conference on the two bills.
Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Catholic Education, applauded the action taken by Congress. "This is wonderful news and a testament to what can be achieved when we put the needs of children first," Archbishop Lucas said. "The members of Congress, by passing legislation to reauthorize ESEA have put us one step closer towards restoring equity and ensuring that all children are afforded the educational services, benefits and opportunity our government has to offer, regardless of the type of school they attend."
Florida Senator Marco Rubio voted against S. 1177; Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who recently underwent surgery for prostate cancer, did not vote on the legislation. To see how your U.S. Representative voted on H.R. 5,
For more on ESEA reauthorization and its effect on private schools, see a recent blog published by redefinED.