K-12 Education

Today, U.S. students have fallen far below the average developed country in international assessments. Rep. Eshoo consistently supports legislation to help close the achievement gap and improve the quality of every level of education so that all children are able to obtain the skills they need to succeed. A strong commitment to educating America’s students is critical to our nation’s future prosperity.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization

First passed in 1965 as a part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the primary federal law for funding K-12 education across the country. It emphasizes equal access to education for all Americans, regardless of race, creed, wealth, or any other factor. The bill aims to shorten achievement gaps by funding professional development for teachers, including instruction materials, resources, and promotion of parental involvement. Importantly, the law forbids the establishment of a national curriculum.

On December 2, 2015, Rep. Eshoo voted for S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the ESEA for the first time since 2002 and replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. The ESSA, which was signed into law on December 10, 2015, provides states with more control over their K-12 education standards and prohibits the federal government from mandating specific education standards.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

When Congress passed IDEA in 1975, the federal government required states to provide a free, appropriate public education to students with disabilities and committed to pay 40 percent of the cost of educating students with disabilities, with the remainder of costs to be paid by states and localities.

Unfortunately, the federal government has not come close to fulfilling its obligation and currently only provides half the promised amount. This shortfall places an onerous financial burden on local school districts and communities, and it has pitted parents of special needs students against those of other students. Rep. Eshoo has consistently voted for and supported legislation to remedy this gap.