U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez (both D-NJ), with U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., hosted a roundtable at Montclair State on Oct. 6, discussing with students, educators and community leaders New Jersey’s implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA takes steps to ensure that every student in the U.S. has access to a high-quality public education.
Moderated by College of Education and Human Services Dean Tamara Lucas, the panel participants included Provost Willard Gingerich and educators and thought leaders – two of whom are Montclair State alumni – from throughout the state who weighed in on issues of concern related to their respective districts and student populations.
“Every single student deserves access to a high-quality education to open doors and help them reach their full potential,” said Sen. Booker. “I was proud to write provisions included in this law that establish meaningful ways to support homeless and foster youth, protect our most vulnerable students, and invest in our dedicated teachers. ESSA reaffirms the federal government’s commitment to supporting student, teacher and school success while moving us away from the broken No Child Left Behind era, and I am pleased to join Secretary King and Sen. Menendez in highlighting its importance in New Jersey.”
“Education is the key to unlocking a child’s full potential, allowing them to fulfill their dreams,” said Sen. Menendez. “ESSA represents a critically important step towards fixing the failures of No Child Left Behind, and ensuring a quality education system for New Jersey students, parents and teachers by rejecting a one-size-fits-all approach for one that is more balanced. The law also gives student-athletes and their parents greater peace of mind by adopting safety provisions based on parts of my SAFE PLAY Act to provide federal funding for states and school districts to develop and implement student-athlete safety plans under a new grant program. I will continue to work with Secretary King and Sen. Booker to ensure New Jersey students receive the high-quality education they deserve.”
ESSA, which was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Obama late last year, replaces the 14-year old No Child Left Behind law. The new law, which states and districts are implementing around the nation, offers an opportunity to uphold the civil rights legacy of this law, and provide access to a high-quality, well-rounded education so all children can be prepared for success in college and career.