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Congressional Groups Press for Continued Subgroup Accountability

By Alyson Klein — April 01, 2011 1 min read

Add lawmakers who represent districts with sizable minorities populations to the list of folks interested in retaining strong subgroup accountability in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Members of the House of Representatives so-called “Tri-Caucus,” which includes the Congressional Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and Asian Pacific American Caucus, sent a letter March 29 to lawmakers overseeing the reauthorization of the ESEA, outlining their priorities for the next version of the law.

Here’s an especially interesting snippet:

We recognize that changes in the law are necessary to improve implementation of educational reforms, however, we resolutely believe that the federal responsibility to require strong accountability through performance goals for all schools and students remains critical to ensuring access to quality education for students of all backgrounds.

The lawmakers would like to see additional accountability and transparency requirements, including collecting data about students based on gender. And they want to see some racial minority groups divided into smaller sub-populations. Specifically, the letter explains that lumping all Asian American and Pacific Islander students into one category can mask those students’ challenges and “often reinforces the ‘model minority’ stereotype.”

The lawmakers also ask that efforts to renew the law address the disproportionate representation of students of color in discipline referrals and special education and support quality early-learning programs and other so-called wrap-around programs, such as physical and mental health services.

When it comes to English-language learners, the lawmakers want to the feds to hold schools accountable for English-language fluency, not just meeting proficiency goals. And they want the law to help states and school districts “create and fund ... robust bilingual education programs.”