Pelosi Statement on the 50th Anniversary of ESEA

Apr 10, 2015
Press Release

Contact: Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616

San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today released the following statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1965:

“Fifty years ago, our nation took a bold and historic step forward for educational opportunity, for the strength of our economy, and for the health of our democracy.  Today, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act stands as one of the landmark victories in both the struggle for civil rights and the war on poverty.

“Nothing returns more to the Treasury than investments in education – from early childhood to lifelong learning.  At the bill signing in 1965, President Johnson, a former educator, explained, ‘no law I have signed or will ever sign means more to the future of America.’  President Johnson added, ‘education is the only valid passport from poverty.’  Indeed, this landmark legislation’s remarkable commitment to expanding education access, especially to our most vulnerable students, has proven essential to bridging the gap between poverty and possibilities for generations of Americans.  Yet, for the first time our nation’s history, more than half the students attending public schools live in poverty.

“The best way to honor the 50th anniversary of this landmark law is to reauthorize a robust bill that protects the core principles of ESEA and ensures our public education system rises to the challenges of the 21st century.  Guided by the consummate leadership of Ranking Member Bobby Scott, House Democrats are committed to fulfilling the promise of this landmark legislation by ensuring that access to high-quality, equitable education is the right of every student regardless of their zip code.”

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