For Immediate Release For More Information Contact:
November 19, 2015 Joyce Jones, Communications Director
Rep. Frederica S. Wilson's Dropout Prevention Amendment Passes
During ESEA Conference Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today the House-Senate conference committee successfully reached agreement on a policy framework to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). During the conference meeting, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) garnered bipartisan support for her amendment to allow school districts to use funds from the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants to establish and improve dropout prevention and reentry programs.
“There are so many obstacles to high school completion that far too many children carry with them into the classroom. Unfortunately, too many schools lack the capacity or resources to develop programs to prevent these students from falling through the cracks.” said Rep. Wilson during the conference meeting. “I am extremely pleased that the conference committee recognized the need to provide schools with much-needed resources to combat this problem.”
During the conference committee, Rep. Wilson noted that more than half a million students fail to graduate from high school each year. The failure to graduate adversely impacts future earning potential and deprives the nation of $300 million in worker income each year.
Rep. Wilson’s amendment allows schools to establish or improve school dropout and re-entry programs using funds devoted to activities that promote positive student learning conditions. With these funds, more schools will have the ability to provide students with the support and resources they need to stay invested and engaged in their educations.
Both Senate and House Committee leadership voiced their strong support for Rep. Wilson’s dropout prevention amendment.
“I think this is an important issue, and it’s a good thing to clarify that funds in the flexible grant program can be used to support dropout prevention and reentry programs,” said Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and Chairman of the House-Senate Conference Committee.
“I want to thank Rep. Wilson as well for offering this amendment,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP. “These types of programs really are critical for making sure all our students can graduate from high school prepared for college and career.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, praised Rep. Wilson’s work on drop-out prevention, saying “I think it’s important to put a focus on improving school dropout reentry, and she’s just the one to propose it.”
Sen. Alexander also recalled how 23 years ago, while serving as U.S. Secretary of Education, he traveled to Miami to honor Skyway Elementary School, which was then under Rep. Wilson’s leadership as part of President George H.W. Bush’s “America 2000” plan to upgrade national education standards.
Rep. Wilson’s amendment will be included in the framework to improve K-12 education that passed the conference committee with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson is a third-term Congresswoman from Florida representing parts of Northern Miami-Dade and Southeast Broward counties. A former state legislator and school principal, she is the founder of the 5000 Role Models for Excellence Project, a mentoring program for young males at risk of dropping out of school. Congresswoman Wilson also founded the Florida Ports Caucus, a bipartisan taskforce that coordinates federal action in support of Florida’s harbors and waterways.