BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) hosted a roundtable discussion with county public school superintendents from across Maryland and state education officials just days after the Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), which reauthorized federal elementary and secondary education programs and funding for the first time in more than a decade. Senator Cardin, the superintendents and state leaders discussed the implications of provisions within the ECAA that are of particular importance to Maryland classrooms, including using more accurate measures of student progress, promoting the physical wellbeing of students, expanding school-based mental health care services and ensuring the availability of federal resources.
“Providing access to a high-quality education is one of the most important priorities of government,” said Senator Cardin. “The last comprehensive update to federal education programs and funding, the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, had the best of intentions and a comforting name. In reality, the red tape and over-reliance on assessments it codified have left far too many children behind since its enactment. The newly passed ECAA will allow states to develop accountability systems that accurately represent student progress in the classroom, while still ensuring that students are held to the high-yet-achievable standard of being college- and career-ready upon completion of high school.”
Senator Cardin and the education leaders also discussed the importance of programs in the STEM fields (science, technology, education and mathematics); the viability of expanding pre-kindergarten programs; and ways to ensure that special education and other vulnerable students receive the learning and social support that they need.
“No child should ever be fearful of going to school or be bullied when they get there. I was encouraged that the superintendents and state officials were highly mindful of addressing these concerns as much as the educational progress of our students,” said Senator Cardin. “I long have believed that education is the great equalizer in America, and in order for that to continue being true, Congress must be mindful that we cannot mandate a one-size-fits-all to educational accomplishment. The just-passed ECAA made strides in the right direction, and I will continue working to advance progressive education reforms that ensure that the greatest number of students receive the best possible education.”