Take Action on ESEA
It is not too late to send a message to your senators before their Tuesday evening vote, urging them to pass the conference report to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and end the current system of waivers and punitive accountability. Thank you to the hundreds of members who have already contacted their members of Congress in support of reauthorization!
Inside the Beltway
What is happening in Washington?
On Wednesday, December 2, the House took up the Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177), the current version of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization. The bill passed the House in a historic vote of 359 to 64. All “nay” votes were from Republicans. The Senate is expected to take it up tomorrow, December 8, and President Obama has already indicated that he will sign this landmark legislation into law.
Why should principals care?
The new law will mean a big shift toward state control of accountability and funding. The bill significantly limits the power of the Secretary of Education and the U.S. Department of Education’s role in holding schools accountable. There is new language favorable to principals, school budget flexibility, and professional development for educators.
In the Press
Accountability and the Every Student Succeeds Act, Education Next
Education Next looks at all the proposed versions of ESEA reauthorization during this Congress and graphs where they fall on different parts of accountability, including testing, performance targets, designations for schools, and interventions. The compromise bill (the Every Student Succeeds Act currently being considered) is much less prescriptive in most areas than No Child Left Behind was, but sticks to its guns when it comes to testing that falls close to our current system.
This comprehensive report is the result of more than a year’s work by 15 experts in the AEI-Brookings Working Group on Poverty and Opportunity. The working group was deliberately chosen to represent an even mix of progressive and conservative thinkers to produce a document outlining policy responses that weave together solutions to poverty favored by both Republicans and Democrats.
A little-known movement has been spreading throughout state legislatures to call up a constitutional convention with the aim of passing a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to balance the budget each year. Such an amendment would be disastrous for education funding and economic growth, but the real threat comes from opening up the constitution to any number of amendments. While a constitutional convention hasn’t been called since the early days of the United States, the amount of distrust of government spending and fear over the country’s rising debt can be taken as a sign of more difficult budget battles to come in the future.