This week the U.S. Senate and House are crafting bills which will repeal the outdated NCLB/ESEA law. It has been 15 years since this education work at the federal level has occurred.
MSBA supports a comprehensive, strategic modernization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Below is a summary of current developments in the House and Senate to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and provide insight about issues that are expected as the Senate continues its floor debate on ESEA.
Senate Bill — S. 1177, the “Every Child Achieves Act” (ECAA) — Sen. Lamar Alexander (author)
The Senate has resumed consideration of S. 1177 this morning. We anticipate that more amendments will be offered on vouchers, tuition tax credits for nonpublic schools, Title I portability and related measures.
Yesterday, the Senate held its second day of debate and considered these amendments:
- Amendment No. 2139 by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) that would restructure the Title I program into individual scholarships for vouchers was not approved by a vote of 52 to 45. Three senators abstained from voting.
- Amendment No. 2107 by Senator Tester to restore tribal grant programs such as teacher training and student fellowships was agreed to by a vote of 56 to 41.
- Amendment No. 2109 by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) to require disaggregated data collection and reporting regarding academic achievement of Asian American and Pacific Islander students was not approved by a vote of 50 to 47.
- Amendment No. 2085 by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) that would encourage states and school districts to integrate school library programs into their plans for improving student academic achievement was approved by a vote of 98 to 0.
House Bill — H.R. 5, the “Student Success Act” – Rep. John Kline, Minnesota (author)
The House passed H. R. 5, the “Student Success Act,” Wednesday evening by a vote of 218 to 213. The House considered the following amendments before passing the underlying bill:
- Amendment No. 1 by Reps. Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Glenn Grothman (R-WI) to reduce the authorization from six years to four years (from fiscal years 2016 through 2019) was adopted by a voice vote.
- Amendment No. 46 by Reps. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to restructure the Title I program into a block grant to states that would allow funds to be used for “any educational purpose” permitted under state law was REJECTED 195 – 235 .
- Amendment No. 3 by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) that would allow parents to opt their student out of the testing required under H.R. 5 and exempt schools from including students that have opted out in the schools’ participation requirements was ADOPTED 251 – 178.
- Amendment No. 4 by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) that would have required states to have college- and career-ready standards and set performance, growth, and graduation rate targets for all student subgroups, including targets for English language learners and students with disabilities, was withdrawn.
- Amendment No. 30 by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) to clarify that states may withdraw from the Common Core State Standards or any other state standards without any penalty from the U.S. Secretary of Education was ADOPTED 373 – 57.
- Amendment No. 31 by Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) to express the sense of Congress that students’ personally identifiable information should be kept private and secure was ADOPTED 424 – 2.
- Amendment No. 32 by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) to require the U.S. Secretary of Education to conduct an assessment of the impact of school start times on student health, well-being, and performance was REJECTED 199 – 228.
- Amendment No. 33 by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) to create a new program for dropout prevention and reentry to school was REJECTED 192 – 237.
- Amendment No. 35 by Rep. Andre’ Carson (D-IN) to create a national research strategy for teachers and student achievement was REJECTED 186 – 245.
- Amendment No. 39 by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) to create a grant program for states to create or expand biliteracy programs to recognize student proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in both English and a second language for graduating high school seniors was REJECTED 191 – 239 .
- Amendment No. 40 by Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) to create a new digital learning program for rural schools that was ADOPTED 218 – 213.
- Amendment No. 41 by Rep. Polis for Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) to create a new early education program was REJECTED 205 – 224.
- Amendment No. 43 by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) to delay the implementation of the reforms in the Student Success Act until the U.S. Secretary of Education determines the law will not impact the college and career readiness of racial or ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, English learners, or low-income students was REJECTED 189 – 241.
- Amendment No. 44 by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) as a substitute amendment to H.R. 5 to maintain the civil rights and equity focus of the law and to ensure all students have access to an education that prepares them for college and the workforce was REJECTED 187 – 244.
What’s Next? The Senate will continue to debate their version of the education bill — it is likely the discussion will last throughout the week. After the Senate votes on their education bill, the House and Senate bills will then go to conference committee to settle differences between the bills.