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(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) voted for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which updates America's federal education policies. Murray, as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has worked on this legislation for more than two years and has offered amendments both in committee and on the floor. In keeping with 35 years of tradition, the bill enjoyed broad bipartisan support. The bill passed the Senate 91-8.

Senator Murray's statement follows:

Today, I voted for a bill that will help schools across America make progress. This bill is not perfect. I am concerned about its lack of funding, especially for the new testing requirements. But overall, this bill moves our country in the right direction. It increases accountability and flexibility. It maintains support for disadvantaged students. And, it keeps public taxpayer dollars in public schools.

I worked hard to improve the bill by offering amendments. I am disappointed that this bill abandons the targeted funding for class size reduction that has given two million students less crowded classrooms. The bill also does not adequately invest in school construction and modernization or other urgent needs. At the same time, we were successful in keeping out bad provisions. The Senate was right to reject a voucher amendment yesterday.

I voted for this bill because I believe we need to move on to the next step, which is providing the resources our schools will need. I will use my position on the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee to work to provide the funding needed to help all students succeed.

Not only have we passed an important bill, but by debating education reform for three years, Congress has shined a spotlight on America's schools and the people who make them work. As a nation, we're now more aware of the challenges schools are facing -- from overcrowding and unsafe facilities to a shortage of teachers and the large number of students who enter the classroom burdened by financial problems or other challenges.

During this long debate, we've also seen how hard communities are working to improve their schools. Parents, teachers, community leaders, PTAs and school boards are coming together to give children the support they need. Government also has a responsibility. With this bill, we have met some, but not all, of our responsibilities. Now the work goes on to invest in our schools and give them resources they need to meet the goals outlined in this legislation.