Hagan Outlines Education Legislation to Bolster 'No Child Left Behind'
North Carolina US Senator Kay Hagan held a news conference this morning to discuss education legislation being considered this week by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, of which she is a member.
Senator Hagan, a Democrat, has included a number of her priorities in the "Strengthening America's Schools Act," which is actually a five-year reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, more commonly known as "No Child Left Behind."
"This act actually expired back in 2007," Hagan told reporters, "So it is long overdue." She said that under the current law, inflexibility and a one-size-fits-all approach have created a situation in which "too many children are being set up for failure."
She discussed several of the provisions that have been included in the bill. One is a financial literacy program, in which students would learn how to handle finances. "Empowering our young people to make intelligent financial decisions is how we are going to build stronger families, stronger communities and a stronger economy in the future," Hagan said. "This plan creates incentive grants for states that agree to integrate financial literacy education in the public elementary and secondary schools."
She also outlined her "Enhancing Education Through Technology" provision, "to ensure that we keep up with, and adapt, to the 21st century learning environment."
Another provision she discussed was the STAR Act, an acronym for "School Turnaround And Reward." This program targets the lowest performing schools, to provide intervention and incentives to help those schools turn around and achieve better academic performance.
The Secondary Schools Act is another provision which has been included in the pending legislation. This is designed to combat what she calls the country's "drop-out crisis."
Hagan also plans to offer an amendment "emphasizing the importance of extending the school day and year when turning around low-performing schools. North Carolina is one of the top five states leading the movement to expand learning time in schools," she explained, "with at least 104 of our schools currently implementing a longer school day."
Senator Hagan spoke with reporters from her Washington, DC office.