The Senate Has Voted to Rollback Civil Rights Protections for America’s Children

When the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law last year, there was bipartisan support for strong systems that would hold schools responsible for the success of each child. However, yesterday the Senate stripped these provisions from the law on a narrow vote of 50-49. As ESSA is a civil rights law, it’s critical that the nation’s signature education policy include protections for our nation’s underserved communities. The protections the Senate voted down would have helped ensure that states are developing accountability systems that serve all of America’s children.

“Today’s repeal undermines important civil rights protections under ESSA that NCLR and other civil rights groups have worked so hard to secure for Latino students, English learners, and other underserved children,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía.

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February Yields Strong Growth for Latino Workers

Photo: One Day Closer

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that employers added 235,000 jobs in February, a hefty gain that far exceeded economists’ prediction of 190,000 jobs. Additionally, the national unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.7 percent. The U.S. Federal Reserve says that he low rate, which has stayed under 5 percent since April 2016 indicates our economy is at or near full employment.

The Latino unemployment rate dropped by almost half a percentage point to 5.6 percent last month. An increase in construction appears to have spurred Latino employment. The industry added 58,000 jobs with the most growth in specialty trade contractors and heavy and civil engineering construction. While Latinos comprise nearly 1/3 of construction jobs, they are more likely to be in lower-wage labor positions.

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What Are the Benefits of the SNAP Program?

Last week, we joined MomsRising for their regular #FoodFri Twitter chat. The topic for this chat: the benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, for American families. We joined as co-hosts with our friends at Food Resource Action Center (FRAC), and the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities.

Below are NCLR highlights from the chat. Join MomsRising for their #FoodFri chat every Friday at 1 pm ET.


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The Republican Health Care Plan is a Threat to American Families

“Save the ACA”
Rally in Support of the Affordable Care Act, at The White House, Washington, DC USA, see https://www.facebook.com/events/1425620610816402/

The GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not make America great again. NCLR has denounced the legislation, dubbed the “American Health Care Act”, which was finally unveiled this week.

The Republican plan would take health coverage away from millions of American families and children, including millions of Latinos, by reducing tax credits to buy affordable plans and by stopping the Medicaid expansion. Further, we are quite alarmed at the plan’s provision to eliminate federal funding for Medicaid coverage for 74 million low-income Americans. This would be a first for the program since it was established in 1965, and would end Medicaid as we know it.

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Eliminating ESSA Accountability Regulations Will Not Help American Students

Including strong accountability regulations in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was critical to NCLR’s support for the law. We worked closely with stakeholders and the Obama administration to help draft and provide meaningful feedback on those rules, which are designed to better track and improve children’s educational performance. However, the recent House vote to strip ESSA of those accountability protections is cause for concern. If the repeal succeeds, it could have dramatic consequences for children around the country.

The accountability regulations guiding states on how to craft their ESSA state plans were finalized this past November. Under ESSA, states were given considerable leeway to create their own accountability plans. However, ensuring equity requires a strong federal responsibility to step in when schools consistently fail to meet the needs of low-income and minority children. The Trump administration has been vocal about their opposition to these accountability protections, and this sentiment was acted on by the House vote to overturn them. Even though a letter from Secretary DeVos encouraged states to continue their planned timelines, she also emphasized that the U.S. Department of Education would be assessing the law in hopes of requiring only what they view as absolutely necessary under ESSA.

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