ESEA Proposals are Critical to Low-Income, High-Achieving Students

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Highlights ESEA Proposals Critical to Low-Income, High-Achieving Students

Urges Congress to maintain these policies in final reauthorization legislation

LANSDOWNE, VA – Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold Levy today issued the following statement urging Congress to maintain key provisions affecting the success of low-income, high-achieving students in the final Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization legislation:

“For too long, many of America’s brightest students from low-income families have fallen through the cracks due to a lack of resources and support in our schools. Reauthorizing and strengthening the nation’s K-12 education law provides an opportunity to implement better policies that will help more children – regardless of income or circumstance – maximize their potential.

“The Senate-passed Every Child Achieves Act includes several provisions that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation believes will allow schools to better serve low-income, high-performing students. Most notably, the legislation would for the first time encourage states to monitor how the achievement levels of economically-disadvantaged students compare to those of students with greater means. Such a provision would allow education leaders finally to better monitor the prevalence of the Excellence Gap and implement timely interventions to prevent lower-income students from falling behind.

“Additionally, the Every Child Achieves Act takes the monumental step of allowing states to develop teacher training and instructional practices to better identify and support high-ability students, particularly those from modest means. The legislation specifically mentions early entrance to kindergarten, enrichment programs, accelerated learning and dual enrollment opportunities as options for states to consider when exploring ways to encourage the advancement of high-achieving students.

“The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is pleased the Senate has acknowledged the opportunity reauthorizing federal K-12 law presents when it comes to ensuring our best and brightest children have every chance for success. As House and Senate leaders come together to develop a final compromise bill to reauthorize ESEA, we strongly encourage members to retain these and other key policies that will help close the Excellence Gap and promote greater opportunities for low-income, high-achieving children.”

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. By offering the largest scholarships in the country, comprehensive counseling and other support services to students from 7th grade to graduate school, the Foundation is dedicated to ensuring high-performing, low-income students have the support necessary to develop their talents and excel educationally. In addition to its scholarship programs, the Foundation provides grants for innovative, high-impact initiatives that benefit such students. By doing so, the Cooke Foundation seeks to use its resources to end the Excellence Gap, the disparity between the number of low and high income students who reach the top levels of academic performance. Founded in 2000, the Foundation has awarded $147 million in scholarships to nearly 2,000 students and over $88 million in grants.

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