Bill to Incorporate Promise Neighborhoods Program into “No Child Left Behind” Introduced in Congress

19 Feb 2015 |
Bill to Incorporate Promise Neighborhoods Program into “No Child Left Behind” Introduced in Congress

A strong and vibrant America requires children who are educated, healthy, and ready to enter the workforce.

Last Thursday, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced a bill to establish the Promise Neighborhoods program within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), more commonly known as “No Child Left Behind”.

The introduction of this bill (S. 514) represents an important step toward ensuring continued support and funding for this highly successful program, which seeks to wrap children in high-quality, coordinated health, social, community, and educational support from cradle to college to career. Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink (PNI) and the entire PNI Network, which represents more than 60 communities nationwide, are thankful for Senator Murphy’s leadership and support in moving this legislation forward.

“We are thrilled that Senators Murphy, Franken, Blumenthal, Brown, and Murray recognize the importance of the Promise Neighborhoods program to improve educational outcomes for children,” said Michael McAfee, Senior Director at PolicyLink and Director of PNI.

A strong and vibrant America requires children who are educated, healthy, and ready to enter the workforce. Yet 16 million children live in poverty and less than a fifth of poor fourth graders are proficient in reading and math. These children lack the opportunity and resources to achieve their full potential. By supporting the work of the Promise Neighborhood program, this legislation seeks to improve academic outcomes, such as school readiness, high school graduation, and college and career readiness for children living in neighborhoods with a high concentration of low-income individuals and persistently low-achieving schools.

The authorization of the Promise Neighborhoods Program through the ESEA Act will allow communities to leverage federal funds to design and implement a comprehensive continuum of educational and community supports that fits their community's unique strengths and responds to their unique needs, with the goal of ensuring college- and career-readiness for all children in the neighborhood.    

Previously introduced by Senator Tom Harkin, who retired in December, the bill was reintroduced on February 12, 2015 by Senator Murphy, who is a long-time champion of the Promise Neighborhoods Program. Since introduction, the bill has been read and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions for consideration.

Inspired by the model of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Promise Neighborhoods seek to build communities of opportunity, centered on strong schools, where all children can learn, grow, and succeed. Since its establishment in 2010, the Promise Neighborhoods program has awarded nearly $277 million to over 50 urban, rural, and tribal communities representing more than 700 schools across the country. Earlier this month, President Obama requested $150 million for Promise Neighborhoods in his FY 2016 budget request, signaling his continued support for the program.

For more information on the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink, please visit http://www.promiseneighborhoodsinstitute.org/.