Today, in the wake of House and Senate conferees ratifying a landmark reauthorization of federal education funding legislation, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, through its Institute for Public Affairs, applauded the product of the 39 member House-Senate committee, and called upon the Congress to quickly enact the landmark agreement and send it on to President Bush for his signature. The agreement is the final version of legislation designed to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act pursuant to President Bush’s “Leave No Child Behind” initiative. This legislation is the principle blueprint for the federal government’s role in American education policy.
The consensus package will implement many critical education reform policies, including:
Increasing the accountability of schools and their administrators for educating America’s children;
Giving local education officials greater flexibility and control over how to allocate federal education funds they administer;
Empowering parents of children in failing schools to choose another public or charter school for their child and to receive federal funds to obtain tutoring or other supplemental services from private, including faith-based, service providers;
Promoting teacher quality and training programs;
Expanding the ability of parochial and private schools to “equitably participate” in federally funded supplemental educational services programs (including teacher training, technology support, special education, etc.) and strengthening the requirements for public education authorities to consult with non-public schools regarding these programs in a timely and meaningful way;
Denying federal education funds to any school district that denies students the right to engage in constitutionally protected prayer.
Union Institute director Nathan Diament, stated: “the Orthodox Jewish community welcomes this landmark legislative consensus that will begin a new era in federal education policy. This blueprint ensures that the benchmarks we set for our children will be results-oriented and that it will be parents who determine whether those results have achieved. There is much more to do to bring true educational opportunity, equality and liberty to all of American parents and children, but this ESEA reauthorization is an excellent beginning. The UOJCA calls on the House and Senate to pass this legislation before adjournment so the President can sign it into law this year.”