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Congressman Yarmuth to Participate in Two Major Education Hearings

Rare Bicameral Hearing Kicks off No Child Left Behind Reauthorization

(Washington, DC)  Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) participated in a rare joint hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on "Elementary and Secondary Act Reauthorization: Improving NCLB to Close the Achievement Gap."

The hearing, which featured four candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination-Senators Barack Obama (D-IL), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), and Christopher Dodd (D-CT), as well as Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)-  kicked off a series of hearings aimed at repairing and reauthorizing No Child Left Behind.

At its inception in 2002, the bipartisan No Child Left Behind was hailed as a flagship measure to bring about equality and accountability in schools.  Since then, however, No Child Left Behind has been underfunded by $56 billion-more than 1/3 of the authorized amount and nearly ½ in 2006- and it has come under fire for forcing teachers to abandon effective teaching models, failing to account for improved performances, and punishing districts that require assistance.

"In the process of underfunding and irresponsibly implementing No Child Left Behind, our government has left millions of students behind," Congressman Yarmuth said.  "As a nation, it is our responsibility, and it is in our best interest, to provide the resources that ensure all our children receive the very best education in the world.  I look forward to working with the committee to implement a comprehensive reform of this bill that will provide America's children the education they deserve."

Tomorrow, Congressman Yarmuth will turn his attention to Head Start.  He will participate in the Education and Labor Hearing on the "Improving Head Start Act of 2007" to reauthorize and improve Head Start's teacher and classroom quality, boost coordination between Head Start and state and local early childhood programs, increase the program's accountability, and expand access to the program.

Head Start serves nearly one million low-income children and their families nationwide, more than 16,000 of whom live in Kentucky.  Research shows that children who attend Head Start enter school better prepared than other low-income children who do not attend the program.  In addition, children who attend Head Start make significant gains relative to national norms in vocabulary, early writing, letter recognition and social behavior.