Thursday, July 16, 2015
Sorry for the multiple posts, but ESEA reauthorization is moving in its furious last moments in the Senate with big news. I have commented over the past few days about the enormous political hurdles to changing Title I's funding formulas and the necessity to do so. Apparently, Senator Burr worked some magic an hour or so ago because his amendment to alter the formulas for the first time in decades passed. For those who do not know, Title I funds are the major source of federal funds in public schools and they are the teeth that force or carrots that encourage states to comply with all of the educational policies in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
I had assumed the likelihood of a formula change was so small that I had not dug into the details of the new formula. The full reauthorization bill must still pass the Senate, which will vote later today. If it passes, I will dig into the details tomorrow, although it is still highly possible that the formula change will not make it through a reconciliation process with the House.
There is, however, one huge caveat. The only way he got the amendment through was to indirectly delay the implementation of the change. It would only apply to Title I funds in excess of $17 billion. We currently set at $14 billion. So its effect would not be felt for years. But it is a clever solution to the underlying problem of the warring winners and losers.
More on why the funding formulas need reform here.
More on the current vote here.