Washington, DC (June 9, 2016) — Character.org President and CEO Becky Sipos’ issued the following statement on the fiscal year 2017 Department of Education budget marked up by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies:
“Last December, I was thrilled to learn that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) would place important emphasis on improving school conditions. Schools will be asked to report data on suspension rates, absenteeism, safety, climate and other important measures of school conditions. ESSA’s Title IV Part A specifically calls for a ‘well-rounded education’ that ‘improves school conditions’ for student learning.
“Character.org believes that character education plays an integral role in many of those components embedded within Title IV Part A. I felt the initial $1.65 billion dollars earmarked for Title IV Part A’s Student Support and Academic Achievement Grant (SSAEG) was a positive first step and commitment to ensuring all students receive a ‘well-rounded’ education in a safe learning environment.
“On Tuesday, I was deeply disheartened and upset to learn that the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies is planning to severely defund the SSAEG. The proposed $300 million dollars is less than a fourth of what was initially authorized and will have tremendous negative impact on our schools. I believe this very low amount is shortsighted and will have several harmful consequences for our students; especially those from our poorest communities across the United States.
“As a lifelong advocate for student achievement and schools’ success, I respectfully ask the Appropriations Subcommittee to address this shortfall before sending the bill to the full Senate. Please fund Title IV Part A at its full authorized level of $1.65 billion dollars to ensure all students have access to a well-rounded education in a safe, welcoming learning environment for the millions of students who could benefit from this funding.”
Character.org works with schools and districts to inspire, educate and empower young people to be ethical and engaged citizens. It is dedicated to helping young people be both smart and good through the advancement of quality character development in all schools. For press related inquiries, please contact Josh Steinfeld at Josh@character.org.