August 01, 2007

Latino Pastors around the Nation Object to House Committee Chairman Miller’s View on NCLB

Washington, DC- Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representative Education Committee Chairman, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) called for serious changes to the No Child Left Behind law, including additional ways to measure school performance. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC), the nations leading Christian advocacy organization responds with fervent objection to Rep. Miller’s claim that most people view the current NCLB law as ‘unfair’. "Thanks to NCLB, for the first time ever, parents are beginning to see some transparency in our public school system. Schools are required to make their tests scores available to all and now parents can see how well schools do in educating their children,” said Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

“NCLB has provided parents with children in persistently dangerous and low performing schools with options to transfer to better schools or receive free tutoring, another first, which empowers parents to make decisions that can directly impact their child’s academic achievement,” said Rev. Rivera.

“Adding new ways to measure school performance only waters down this law, diminishing the accountability and transparency. Lawmakers must instead further strengthen this law by adding teeth to the current measurement rather than making it more flexible,” added Rev. Rivera.

In response to the alarming school drop out rate of Hispanic students (more than 40%), CONLAMIC leaders have committed to establishing 100 new Christian private schools by 2017, an initiative they call their “Education Ministry”. They seek to provide a quality option for parents that will do a better job in educating the youngest generation of Hispanic children, while the “broken public school system gets fixed”. However, they are concerned to see that the bright light that has shined hope for inner city minority children, called NCLB is now at the hands of leadership such as Rep. Miller, who are seeking to make changes that may halt the progress that we’ve seen in the law.

“The only promising thing that Rep. Miller has introduced in his proposal is teacher pay based on performance", said Rev. John Muniz, Chairman of the CONLAMIC Education Committee.In the last two years, CONLAMIC has worked collaboratively with the Hispanic Council for Reform & Educational Options (Hispanic CREO) to educate thousands of Latino parents, members of the Latino evangelical churches to understand the benefits and tools the NCLB legislation offers.

"Latino parents are learning that they have the responsibility of being involved in their child’s education and that they also have the right to hold schools accountable for their performance. School transparency leads to parent empowerment and parents are the only ones who will truly hold schools and lawmakers alike accountable for the needed change and this is has been the most promising benefit of NCLB,” said Maite Arce, Vice President of Hispanic CREO.

“A quality education should not be a benefit for American children, but must be a basic civil right," concluded Rev. Rivera.

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