ESEA At 50: The Federal Government And Equity in American Education

Reclaiming the Promise of Education Conversation Series
February 18, 2015

Fifty years ago, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was first enacted into law as part of the “war against poverty,” bringing the federal government into American education as a force for equity and educational opportunity. Today, thirteen years after its transformation into No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the debates over the reauthorization of ESEA have posed questions that go to the heart of federal government’s role as a force for educational equity. Will Title One funds be diverted from high poverty students and public schools? Will those funds end up in vouchers and other privatization schemes that undermine the public schools serving the students with the greatest needs? Will the failed NCLB accountability regime be replaced with an approach that supports and improves public schools serving students with the greatest needs? Our panel will discuss these questions and more.



Judith Browne Dianis, co-director, Advancement Project

Wade Henderson, president and ceo, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers and Albert Shanker Institute.

Moderator: Michelle Ringuette, assistant to the president, American Federation of Teachers

Sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute and the American Federation of Teachers, this conversation series is designed to engender lively and informative discussions on important educational issues. We deliberately invite speakers with diverse perspectives, including views other than those of the AFT and the Albert Shanker Institute. What is important is that these participants are committed to genuine engagement with each other.