Press Release

Contact: First Focus Campaign for Children
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Bill Will Help Schools and Communities Strengthen Student Achievement

Education
Nutrition

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) and Representative Dave Loebsack (D-IA) introduced legislation to lower the barriers that stand between America’s children and educational success. The Developing Innovative Partnerships and learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act authorizes states to help local school districts build community-wide partnerships to address nutrition, health, personal safety, family stability, and other factors that determine how well children can perform in school.

“When children have to deal with issues such as hunger, instability at home and poor nutrition outside of school, it makes it even more difficult for them to receive a good education while in school,” said Representative Loebsack. “As someone who grew up in poverty, I know what it is like to face hardships outside the classroom, and I want to ensure kids can break through the barriers that will allow them to learn.”

“Many students face insurmountable learning obstacles through no fault of their own. If we don’t address the obstacles outside school walls, we’ll never turnaround what goes on within them. We need to do a better job of helping students with wraparound services like tutoring, extending learning services, health care and social support,” said Representative Chu. “When students are provided the right kinds of support and opportunities to help them learn, nothing can stop them. The DIPLOMA Act ensures that America’s next Nobel Prize laureate can come from any background or community.”

The DIPLOMA Act draws on successful models including the Community Schools Initiative and Promise Neighborhoods Initiative, to promote a shared, systemic, and comprehensive approach to education. Recognizing that schools alone cannot be expected to address every factor that influences student achievement, the legislation provides resources to local consortia to engage families and the public in strengthening student achievement, coordinating existing services, and filling gaps in services ranging from tutoring and extended learning to health care and social supports.

“Our nation needs, and our children deserve, a comprehensive approach to education,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus, a bipartisan child advocacy organization. The DIPLOMA Act encourages our schools and communities to work together in order to guarantee that each child has an opportunity to learn and succeed. The collaborative framework that this legislation implements will build community ownership and strengthen results for children and youth across the country. We strongly urge Congress to incorporate this proposal in ESEA reauthorization. We commend Representative Chu and Representative Loebsack for their leadership on the DIPLOMA Act and look forward to working with Congress to pass this important legislation.”