Inside the Beltway
Congress returns from the August recess this week and they have a full agenda for the month. They have until September 17 to take action on the Iran deal and until September 30 to pass a spending bill before government shutdown. Several programs such as the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 are set to expire at the end of the month without reauthorization. Education advocates are anticipating news about the ESEA Conference Committee this month or next month.
In the Press
After 12 Years in the House, Kline Opts to Retire, Washington Post
Rep. John Kline (R-MN), current Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, announced last Thursday that he intends to retire at the end of his current term. His retirement puts pressure on lawmakers to pass reauthorization of ESEA—a law Rep. Kline has been working on for many years.
Policy Update: Opt Out Policies by State, National Association of State Boards of Education
The National Association of State Boards of Education has published the first report to have a complete record of standardized testing opt-out policies and guidance for all 50 states. The report found 34 states prohibit opt outs, requiring all students to take state tests. Only two states—California and Colorado—permit opt outs completely. Four states allow local districts to decide policy and the rest allow opt out but place restrictions or provide a list of excused reasons for missing a test.
The PBS special series, Rethinking College: Closing the Graduation Gap, highlights the story of a school district in a Texas border town and its partnership with South Texas College, a local community college that offers free classes to all 8,000+ high school students to dramatically increase the number of college graduates in the impoverished region.
Ready for Success Back to School Bus Tour, Department of Education
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s annual back to school bus tour will make its way across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri this year. The first stop is in Pittsburgh, PA, on September 14 at the Woodland Early Learning Center. The focus this year is increasing access and opportunity from early learning to college. Duncan will be making stops at early learning programs, universities, and secondary schools with unique career preparation programs.
We need you to speak up about ESEA reauthorization. Send an email to your senators and representatives telling them that teachers and principals need proper support to ensure every student receives a high quality education.