WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Representative Dave Loebsack (I-IA) introduced the Working to Encourage Community Action and Responsibility in Education (We CARE) Act (H.R. 2565). By amending Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the bill requires states and local educational agencies to assess the nonacademic factors affecting student academic performance. They then must work with other public, private, nonprofit, and community-based entities to address those factors.

The WE CARE Act also requires annual report cards issued by states and local education agencies to include additional performance data, including information on their efforts to increase community and parent involvement in students’ education.

“I grew up in poverty, so I know the big difference community supports can make in a student’s life,” said Congressman Loebsack. “I would not be where I am today without the support of my community, and I want to work to ensure that all students have access to the services they need to reach their full academic potential.”

Research has shown a strong correlation between areas with high levels of poverty, crime, family mobility and low student achievement. Despite these challenges, studies also show that supportive neighborhoods can mitigate the harmful effects of economic disadvantage on students and form the foundation for high academic achievement.

“We commend Representative Loebsack for introducing legislation to strategically engage the community in the education of our students,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan advocacy group. “Strengthening school-community partnerships allows schools to build capacity beyond the instructional time allotted in a school year to address the comprehensive and non-academic needs of children and youth. The WE CARE Act ensures that schools and communities work together with families to provide the necessary wraparound supports students need to excel in the classroom.

We look forward to working with Congress, national and state partners, to pass this important legislation. Together, we can promote legislation that leverages resources from the community to help meet students’ non-academic needs and prepare them for success in the classroom.”