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NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund: House Bill Permitting Unlimited Transfer of Federal Education Funds Would Rob Poor, Minority Students of Valuable Resources

NEW YORK, July 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The "State and Local Funding Flexibility Act" (H.R. 2445), which was approved on July 13, 2011 on a party-line vote of the House Education and Workforce Committee, threatens to reverse decades of progress in advancing civil rights and equal access to education for our nation's children. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, as the organization that argued and won the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, vehemently opposes this bill.

Since Brown, Congress has worked to open and preserve access to equal education for all students. In 1965, with the passing of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Congress recognized the need to provide additional funds to states and school districts that served disadvantaged students, many of whom are African-American and Latino. Since then, Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have consistently demonstrated a commitment to maintaining support for these students. But the "State and Local Funding Flexibility Act" now threatens that legacy of bi-partisan leadership and the educational opportunity of millions of students nationwide.

The bill would provide states and school districts limitless power to divert funding from programs that serve disadvantaged students. This "false flexibility" is insulting to educators and students alike.

We are deeply dismayed that this bill was approved by the House Education and Workforce Committee. If we are to ever fully realize the promise of Brown, we must reject the notion that transferring funding from disadvantaged students or forcing students to compete for funding could possibly benefit anyone. In reality, it will hurt us all.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) is America's legal counsel on issues of race. Through advocacy and litigation, LDF focuses on issues of education, voter protection, economic justice and criminal justice. We encourage students to embark on careers in the public interest through scholarships and internship programs. LDF pursues racial justice to move our nation toward a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.