As the organization that litigated Brown v. Board of Education over sixty years ago, LDF has led the charge in advancing equal educational opportunity in our nation’s public schools. As Chief Justice Warren noted in the Brown opinion, “education is the very foundation of good citizenship.”  In a globally competitive economy, quality education is an imperative. 

However, many students of color still disproportionately attend under-resourced schools, are taught by inexperienced teachers, and are placed in restrictive learning environments.  As a result, their educational outcomes suffer. 

LDF supports a thoughtful and truly bipartisan reauthorization process of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  LDF applauds Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray’s advancement of the process with today’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability.

LDF supports quality assessments that are part of multiple measures of student growth and are not tied to high-stakes consequences.  Instead, federal funding should go towards resources, supports, and services targeted to improve student outcomes.   

LDF urges lawmakers to act to change the tide for students of color in our nation’s public schools.  For ESEA, LDF urges lawmakers to consider the following priorities:

  • Ensure equitable distribution of resources, including experienced teachers, rigorous course offerings, and access to high-quality early learning opportunities.
  • Ensure that funds are distributed in ways that take into account disparate student needs and unequal local resources.
  • Promote diverse learning environments and give states incentives to take concrete steps to promote high-quality, and inclusive educational environments.
  • Support ongoing professional development opportunities for educators that include cultural competency training and training on implicit bias.
  • End the overuse of exclusionary and punitive discipline practices, like zero tolerance policies, that push students out of school.  Hold schools accountable for reducing suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to law enforcement.
  • Support parental involvement in development of school discipline codes.
  • Ensure that parents have timely access to data  and information on school performance.
  • Support proven interventions and best practices to increase high school graduation rates.

LDF looks forward to working with Congress to seize this opportunity to realize the promise of Brown for all students.