December 09, 2015

Manchin Votes to Overhaul Education Law

‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ scales back federal interference in school system and ensures all children receive high-quality education

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today voted for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), legislation to reauthorize through 2020 the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The legislation includes measures that will scale back federal interference in the public school system and ensure all children in America and West Virginia have access to a well-rounded, high-quality education that enables them to compete and succeed in a growing global economy. The final bill passed the Senate by a 85-12 vote. On December 3rd, the House voted 359-64 to pass the bill. It now heads to the President’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law.

Senator Manchin secured several provisions to the bill that will benefit students and families in West Virginia. The provisions focus specifically on addressing substance abuse in the home, promoting volunteerism and community service, protecting children from predators, making sure governors have input in state education plans and enabling schools serving high concentrations of low-income students to work with community partners to provide health, nutrition, and other social services in a cost-effective manner.

"The future of our country’s economic success largely depends on the quality of education our children are receiving today,” Senator Manchin said. “This bipartisan legislation reduces federal interference in local schools to ensure teachers, school leaders, parents, local districts and states play a greater role in preparing our children to compete and succeed in a 21st century, global economy. This bill works to provide every child across this country with a quality education and takes steps to ensure we meet the Five Promises we must keep to our children: that they will grow up with the help and guidance of caring adults, safe surroundings, healthy childhoods, effective education and opportunities to serve others.”

To review a one-pager on the Every Student Succeeds Act, please click here.

Details on the provisions that Senator Manchin included in the bill are below:

Educating Students Facing Substance Abuse: This provision allows schools to use funds to support “Safe and Healthy Students” for addressing the education needs of students facing substance abuse in the home.

Promoting Student Volunteerism and Service: This provision promotes student volunteerism and community service as part of a well-rounded education. Specifically, it adds “programs that promote volunteerism and community involvement” to the list programs and activities that a local education agency is authorized to provide for the purpose of providing students with a well-rounded education.

Banning “Passing the Trash”: This amendment bans "passing the trash," which is the practice of a school helping a known child molester obtain a job at another school to prey upon other children.

Consulting Governors While Developing State Plans: This provision requires governors of states to be consulted during the development of a state education plan to improve education and workforce readiness. It also includes a 30-day "shot clock" for a state's governor to approve the plan before it is submitted to the Secretary of Education.

Promoting Full Community Schools: This provision sets aside at least ten grants per year to full community schools to establish public-private partnerships to ensure that low-income students have access to the resources that they need to learn and thrive, including physical and mental health services, nutrition services, and academic support services. Full Community schools, like Reconnecting McDowell in West Virginia, help ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed.

Providing Support Services to Students: This provision allows local education agencies to hire a site resource coordinator to help schools provide physical and mental health services, nutrition services and academic support services to students.