The LWVUS Board approved a new Education position at the March 2012 (March 25, 2012) Board meeting. The position is based on responses received from the 377 Leagues across the country who participated in the Education Study. Thanks to the many local and state Leagues and ILOs who held meetings, involved their communities and worked to reach consensus on this critical issue of importance to all Americans. Committee Chairs Peg Hill (TX) and Joanne Leavitt (CA) and their committee: Pat Aaron ( IL), Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins (CO), Patricia Libutti (NJ), Sanford Ostroy (MA), Jean Pierce (IL) and Janelle Rivers (SC) are to be commended for their excellent work and leadership.
The League of Women Voters believes that the federal government shares with other levels of government the responsibility to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12. A quality public education is essential for a strong, viable, and sustainable democratic society and is a civil right.
The League believes that the role of the federal government should include the following:
The League of Women Voters believes that an equitable, quality public education is critical for students. While the League recognizes that there are instances where the federal government’s involvement is the only way to achieve universal change (desegregation, special needs population, gender equity), we also recognize that primary responsibility for public education resides with the states. In accordance with the League of Women Voters’ position on Equal Rights, we continue to support equity in public education for all through:
The League of Women Voters believes a basic role of the federal government in funding education should be to achieve equity among states and populations on the basis of identified needs. This should be done with full understanding that equity does not mean equal, given that some populations are more expensive to educate than others and some localities have specific needs.
The League believes that the federal government should be primarily responsible for funding any programs mandated by the federal government on local education agencies. Although the League recognizes equity in education depends on meeting basic human needs of children and of their families, the costs associated with providing equitable access to safe neighborhoods and secure housing do not belong in the education budget. Major programs of federal funding for public education (i.e., Elementary and Secondary Education Act) should be targeted toward children living in poverty and/or children with special needs. The federal government has the responsibility to monitor and support access to the following:
The League of Women Voters believes that the first five years of a child’s life are crucial in building the foundation for educational attainment and greatly impact success or failure in later life. Additionally, the League believes quality, developmentally appropriate and voluntary early learning experiences should be available to all children, with federally funded opportunities going first to children of poverty and/or with special needs. The League believes that the federal government should support the following: