Clarke opposes attempt to undermine public schools

Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke voted no to a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, which she said undermines public schools.

H.R. 5, the “Student Success Act,” also known as the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), was passed in Congress last week by a vote of 218-213.

Clarke, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, said the bill, sponsored by Republicans, will undermine support for public schools by allowing the diversion of resources from low-income districts to high-income ones.

It will also enable the transfer of funds from programs that support low-income students and English-language learners.

“President Lyndon B. Johnson and the Members of Congress who initially drafted the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965, who believed that every child should have an opportunity to learn, would not recognize H.R. 5,” Clarke said.

“This law would deprive our schools of nearly $800 million over the next six years, and allow states to reallocate for other uses funds provided under Title 1, which provides programs and resources to low-income schools,” she added.

“We cannot, as a nation, afford this type of divestment in our children, particularly in communities of color, neighborhoods with high levels of poverty, and for students with disabilities,” Clarke continued.

For almost a half-century, she said the “laudable purpose” for which the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was enacted — to support every child in the development of her or his unique talents — “has guided the subsequent reauthorization and implementation of this law.

“Sadly, H.R. 5 fails miserably at meeting this mark,” Clarke said.

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