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Friday, July 15, 2011
The leaders of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) have joined forces to oppose the “State and Local Funding Flexibility Act” – an education bill that would dismantle civil rights protections for poor students, students of color, English language learners and others.
John Payton, President and Director-Counsel of LDF, and Marian Wright Edelman, President of CDF, noted in a letter to Congressional leaders that the bill, which would give states “flexibility” in allocating federal education funds, actually invites states and school districts to divert already scarce resources from disadvantaged students. Payton and Edelman urge Congress to remember the critical federal role in providing equal educational opportunity for poor and minority children and not “trample forty-plus years of progress in the struggle for civil rights and educational equity for our nation’s most vulnerable children.”
The measure was approved by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce by a strictly partisan vote. It is one of a number of measures Congress is considering as part of the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It still must be brought before the full House and Senate to become law.
LDF has actively engaged in the ESEA reauthorization debate, serving as a leading voice on Capitol Hill and in the civil rights community on important legislative and policy matters impacting educational equity.