In a Comment Letter on Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s Discussion Draft of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization, LDF urges the Chairman to retain the important federal oversight role in education.  As the organization that litigated Brown v. Board of Education over sixty years ago,  LDF urges the Committee to not turn its back on Brown, which was premised on the important federal role in holding states accountable for providing equal educational opportunities for all children.  Citing persistent disparities undermining the educational experiences of African American children, including lack of access to quality facilities, rigorous course offerings, experienced and credentialed teachers, extracurricular opportunities, and technology, LDF outlines its recommendations for strengthening ESEA.  Those recommendations include:

  • Maintaining the Federal Oversight Role;
  • Ensuring Equitable Distribution of School Resources;
  • Promoting Diverse Learning Environments and Reducing the Effects of Racial Isolation and Concentrated Poverty;
  • Ending the Overuse of Punitive and Exclusionary Discipline Practices that Push Students of Color out of School and Fuel the School-to-Prison Pipeline; and
  • Ensuring that school employee hiring practices are consistent with equal employment opportunity.

LDF President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill notes, “The reauthorization of ESEA is an important moment in time—will Congress act in the interests of children or in the self interest of states that have historically not provided for children of color, low-income children and children with disabilities?  I urge Congress to act and hold states accountable and provide supports to ensure that all children have equal opportunity to learn and succeed.”