Peters Education Measures to Be Signed into Law

Provisions Supporting Dual and Concurrent Enrollment, Student Financial Literacy, Data on Dual Status Youth Included in Education Reform Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today applauded Senate passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), bipartisan legislation to reform the No Child Left Behind law and reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week and will be signed into law by the President, includes a bipartisan amendment Peters introduced with Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) supporting dual and concurrent enrollment in schools. Two additional measures Peters championed are also included in the bill – one to support funding for financial literacy programming and one to strengthen efforts to better identify dual status youth. Dual status youth are young people who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

“I’m pleased that Congress has come together on a bipartisan basis to pass long overdue education reform that will help strengthen our primary education system and give kids a greater opportunity to get ahead,” said Senator Peters. “My provisions in this bill will support funding for dual enrollment programs that can help make college more affordable, arm students with the tools they need to make responsible financial choices in the future and protect our most vulnerable children from falling into the school-to-prison pipeline.”

The Gardner-Peters amendment will 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.

Peters also pushed for a measure included in the final bill promoting funding for financial literacy programming. 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 spent 22 years working as an investment advisor helping families save for their retirement and their children’s college education.

Another Peters-backed provision included in the Every Student Succeeds Act addresses the lack of data on dual status youth. 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.