Washington, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement after New York State was granted waivers from the harshest parts of “No Child Left Behind,” (NCLB).

“New York was forced to make the decision to apply for the waivers because they were left with no real choice.  I would not be surprised if all 50 states didn’t apply for these waivers.  This shows the need for Congress to act to change this law, sooner rather than later.  I originally voted for No Child Left Behind because I, like many of my colleagues in Congress, were assured that it would be fully funded. From its inception, NCLB has been underfunded.

“NCLB puts too much of an emphasis on standardized testing, and has grossly underfunded any assistance for states to meet these requirements.  The flaw in this logic is that a standard solution exists that fit every school in the same manner.  As a result schools are being punished for failing to reach artificial benchmarks, thus making it more difficult for them to improve the education of young Americans.

“The time has long passed for Congress to act and reform NCLB.  However, the House Majority Leader recently released the agenda for the next several months and there is not a single item about NCLB to be found.  The need to provide a strong education for our children should be something which blurs the line between the parties.  I am disappointed to see that in our current political climate in Washington this doesn’t appear to be the case. In order for America to compete, we must have a Grade A education system.  As a former teacher, I understand how important this is for our children, and our families, to reform NCLB now.”