Strengthen the Nation's Education Pipeline

NLC asks Congress and the Administration to partner with cities to improve local education systems and outcomes, and to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

    High quality education and job training programs strengthen our communities by developing a skilled workforce prepared to meet the demands of the new economy. NLC needs Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), including Title I, so that states and localities will have the tools they need to improve their local education systems. Reauthorization must also address problems in ESEA.

    Failure to reauthorize ESEA has prevented local governments from making critical improvements to their education systems that will provide young people with the tools they need to compete. The U.S. Department of Education's state waiver program to address the problems in current law is not a satisfactory alternative to ESEA reauthorization. These waivers are temporary, and subject to change depending on the Administration.

    A strong federal-local partnership will acknowledge that the best education decisions are made at the local level, and leverage the expertise of the federal government. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, NLC is focusing on strengthening the education pipeline to ensure that all young people have access to an appropriate education that includes early childhood opportunities as well as postsecondary success. That means increasing the visibility, understanding, and appreciation of the role that cities can play in leading educational change by advancing strong early childhood opportunities, citywide high-quality afterschool programs, and strategies to improve postsecondary success rates.

    Now is the time for Congress and the Administration to modernize the federal education system with strong intergovernmental partnerships between federal and local partners. Federal action should place emphasis on learning and skills acquisition; provide students with a wide range of academic resources to help them continue their education and enter the world of work; and offer adults access to job skills training that is responsive to the current economic environment.