07.16.15

Peters Amendments Pass Senate, Included in No Child Left Behind Reform Bill

Amendments Support Financial Literacy Education, Dual and Concurrent Enrollment

 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) announced today that two amendments he introduced were included in the Every Child Achieves Act, the bipartisan bill to reform the No Child Left Behind law and reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that passed the Senate today. Peters’ measures will support funding for financial literacy programming and make college more affordable by supporting high school students taking college courses.

The Senate approved Peters’ amendment to include financial literacy programming as an allowable use for Title I Parent and Family Engagement funding, which helps encourage parents and families to participate in school programs. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation conducted a survey in 2014 that found “millennials display low levels of financial literacy, engage in problematic financial behaviors and express concerns about their debt.” Peters, who spent 22 years working as an investment advisor helping families save for their retirement and their children’s college education, recently sent a letter urging Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) leaders to include this measure in the bill.

“Financial literacy education can help both students and parents make smart decisions when they save for college, open a credit card, manage their personal budgets or plan for retirement,” said Senator Peters. “Poor financial choices can hurt an individual’s long-term chances for economic success and stability. I’m pleased that the Senate included my amendment to strengthen funding for these programs that equip children and families with the practical financial information and skills they need to succeed.”

The Senate also approved an amendment that Peters introduced with U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to allow Title I funds to be used to support concurrent and dual enrollment programs at eligible schools, enabling high school students to simultaneously receive college-credit from courses taught by college approved teachers in secondary education. It also allows school districts to use fifth-year program partnerships to allow students to participate in concurrent enrollment in the year after their senior year.

“Higher education is an increasingly necessary part of the pathway to economic opportunity and joining the middle class,” said Peters. “Dual and concurrent enrollment programs help high school students get ahead in their coursework and prime them for success, ultimately making a college degree more accessible and affordable, and I’m pleased that the Senate passed my bipartisan amendment to support funding for these programs."

Another Peters-backed provision included in the Every Child Achieves Act addresses the lack of data on dual status youth – young people who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Peters sent a letter in June urging Senate HELP Committee leaders to include this measure in the bill. The measure requires states to develop and submit plans for identifying dual status youth and improving intervention services that can reduce school suspensions, expulsions and referrals to law enforcement. It also makes providing targeted, evidence-based services for these at-risk children an allowable use of funding.

“A growing body of research has shown that dual status youth experience poor educational performance, higher recidivism rates, higher detention rates, disruptive living arrangements and substantial behavioral health needs,” Peters wrote. “Many at-risk children lack stable home lives and are frequently funneled through the school to prison pipeline. We have a responsibility to ensure our nation’s most vulnerable children grow up to lead successful lives."

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