Friday, July 17, 2015

Senate Passes Bill to Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Roll Back the Policies of No Child Left Behind

Yesterday afternoon, by a vote of 81-17, the Senate passed a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  The bill would substantially change the state-federal relationship in education, shifting much more control back to the states.  As discussed in recent days, the Senate bill substantially differs from the House bill.  The White House has decried the House bill, but both the White House and Secretary Duncan have indicated that the Senate bill, while not great, is within the realm of reason.   Thus, if Congress wants to reauthorize ESEA--and it seems pretty clear it does--one would expect that negotiations between the White House, the House, and the Senate will lead toward final legislation built on the framework in the current Senate Bill.

That current framework revolves around:

  • eliminating the current accountability system of No Child Left Behind  
  • Allowing states to create their own accountability systems rather than the one size fits all approach of "adequate yearly progress"
  • continuing to test students ever year in math and reading in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school, along with some intermittent testing in science
  • permitting states to develop alternative assessments
  • continuing to disaggregate test results by student groups
  • eliminating the punitive interventions from NCLB and allowing states to decide when and how to intervene
  • prohibiting the Department of Education from imposing any academic standards or curriculum
  • eliminating conditions from the current NCLB waivers, such as implementing teacher evaluation systems
  • permitting states to use federal funds for pre-k education
  • reworking the Title I funding formula

The following measures did not make it into the bill:

  • protections for LGBTQ Youth
  • vouchers and other types of funding portability
  • strict accountability for low achievement
  • funding targeted at pre-k education

ESEA/NCLB | Permalink


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