U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Committee released two pieces of legislation to reauthorize ESEA
Chairman Kline's comments on the draft legislation for the rauthorization of No Child Left Behind(ESEA)See entire bill at the attached links: Student Success Act and Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (posted 01/10/12)
See entire language of the Bill at edworkforce.house.gov
11 States Seek Flexibility from NCLB to Drive Education
WASHINGTON - Just seven weeks after President Obama announced a plan to offer greater flexibility from federal education mandates in exchange for a strong commitment to core reforms that boost student achievement, 11 states formally submitted to the U.S. Department of Education requests for waivers from key provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
The following states, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee filed requests based on locally-designed plans to implement college and career ready standards; develop rigorous accountability systems that include a focus on low-performing schools and schools with persistent achievement gaps; and create better systems for developing, supporting and evaluating principals and teachers.Followng are the details of the submissions of the 11 states.(posted 12/13/11}
Click here to download Chart of State details.
Though movement is not expected before the new year,The ESEA bill put forth by Harkin (HELP committee chair )can now be downloaded. (posted 10/12/11}
Some Movement on ESEA
The House Committee on Education and Labor (John Kline(RMN)has reported out of committee three bills that will impact ESEA
Members of the Senate Committee on Health,Education,labor and Pensions have introduced bills that address many of the provisions of ESEA that have received a lot of ink.In both instances the theme for the Republicans appears to be less at the Federal level; more at the state level.
Four Senators on the Senate Education Committee - Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)- introduced a series of bills that would repair many of the provisions in ESEA that have been most problematic for school districts. The Republicans draft bills would eliminate AYP and ask states to identify their lowest performing 5% of schools and require them to choose from six turn-around options for improving academic achievement in these schools. One of the bills would also require a goal of "college and career readiness" for all students using annual reading and mathematics assessments, including student growth, to measure progress toward the goal. Student achievement would still be disaggregated by subgroup. Another bill would enable states to establish their own teacher licensure and certification requirements, and permits school districts to transfer funds among the 5 major federal education programs. However, no funds could be transferred out of Title I and Title III. AASA has written a letter of initial support for this bill package. Complete details on the four bills introduced are on the Leading Edge blog.
House Passes Charter School Bill 365-54
The House passed the Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act by a margin of 365-54. Forty-one Democrats and thirteen Republicans voted against the bill. An amendment by Steve King (R-IA) that would have allowed charter schools with no record of improving achievement for students from historically disadvantaged groups, like students with disabilities, students from low-income and minority backgrounds, and students who are non-native English speakers, to be eligible for federal funds was overwhelmingly defeated. The measure is the first in a series of GOP bills aimed at rewriting pieces of the NCLB to reach the House floor.
Obama Administration Proceeds with Reform of No Child Left Behind Following Congressional Inaction
With the new school year fast approaching and still no bill to reform the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration will provide a process for states to seek relief from key provisions of the law, provided that they are willing to embrace education reform.
Melody Barnes, director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan jointly announced the President's directive in the White House briefing room. Barnes explained that the administration's proposal to fix NCLB has been with Congress for 16 months, been the topic of numerous meetings and hearings, and been subjected to partisan politics in the House. Last March-a full year after submitting his proposal-the President called for a bill before the start of the school year.
"America's future competitiveness is being decided today, in classrooms across the nation. With no clear path to a bipartisan bill in Congress, the President has directed us to move forward with an administrative process to provide flexibility within the law for states and districts that are willing to embrace reform," Barnes said.
She emphasized that such a process is "not a pass on accountability. There will be a high bar for states seeking flexibility within the law. We'll encourage all states to apply and each one should have a chance to succeed. But those that don't will have to comply with No Child Left Behind's requirements, until Congress enacts a law that will deliver change to all 50 states."
The administration's proposal for fixing NCLB calls for college- and career-ready standards, more great teachers and principals, robust use of data, and a more flexible and targeted accountability system based on measuring annual student growth. Barnes and Duncan noted that the final details on the ESEA flexibility package will reflect similar goals. The specifics of the package will be made public in September.
Duncan remarked that NCLB is "forcing districts into one-size-fits-all solutions that just don't work. The President understands this and he has directed us to move ahead in providing relief-but only for states and districts that are prepared to address our educational challenges."
"There is no magic bullet for fixing education and the best ideas will always come from the local level-from the hardworking men and women in our schools doing the hard work every day to educate our children," Duncan said. "We're still hopeful that Congress can continue its work this fall. In the meantime, states and districts have an opportunity to move forward
Individual Bills Mark in House Efforts to Reform Education
John Kline, Chairman of the House Education and the workforce, in a statement released June 13th, an outline of the Congressional majority's plan to advance a series of reforms through "bite size" individual bills:
1. Encouraging funding Flexibility
2. Promoting parental Choice Through High-Quality Charter
3. Supporing Quality Teachers
4. Redefining Accountability
5. Streamlining - Federal program Prescience
Congressman John Kline released (June 22) the second of the individual bills (HR 2218) targeted to the reauthorization of ESEA. "The bill," states Kline, "is designed to simplify and enhance the federal charter program. (Click here for details)
The first of the bills (HR 1891) which passed out of committee in May, cut 43 programs in addition to those 40 or so that were included in the FY2011 committee. (Click here for details)
**Secretary Duncan's testimony before the Budget committee signals content that will be present in the Department's bill to be dropped in mid-March for Congress's consideration.
ESEA Reauthorization: Why We Can't Wait
Secretary Duncan delivered a speech, on Thursday September 24th ,that can be summarized as "ESEA Reauthorization: Why We Can’t Wait." After visiting approximately 30 states, dozens of schools and meeting with thousands of stakeholders on his Listening & Learning Tour, The Secretary has stated the time to move forward, together, on reauthorization is upon us. He stated that we cannot waste a minute of this unprecedented opportunity to improve education in the United States, not just by turning around schools that are poorly serving their students, but by also making America’s many excellent schools even better and more globally competitive.
The full text of his prepared speech can be found on the USDOE web site. Below are some excerpts from his prepared text:
ON THE PROPER ROLE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN EDUCATION
- "People want support from Washington but not interference. They want accountability but not oversight. They want national leadership but not at the expense of local control."
- "The best solutions begin with parents, teachers and principals working together in the home and the classroom. Our role in Washington is to support reform by encouraging bold, creative approaches to addressing underperforming schools, closing the achievement gap, strengthening the field of education, reducing the dropout rate and boosting college access."
ON CRITICISMS AND MERITS OF NCLB/ESEA THAT HE HAS HEARD
- "Teachers complain bitterly about NCLB’s emphasis on testing. Principals hate being labeled as failures. Superintendents say it wasn’t adequately funded. And many parents just view it as a toxic brand that isn’t helping children learn."
- "Some people accuse NCLB of over-reaching while others say that it doesn’t go far enough in holding people accountable for results. I always give NCLB credit for exposing achievement gaps, and for requiring that we measure our efforts to improve education by looking at outcomes, rather than inputs."
- "I also agree with some NCLB critics: the law was underfunded -- it unfairly labeled many schools as failures even when they were making progress -- it places too much emphasis on raw test scores rather than student growth -- and it is overly prescriptive."
- "The biggest problem with NCLB is that it doesn’t encourage high learning standards. In fact, it inadvertently encourages states to lower them. The net effect is that we are lying to children and parents by telling kids they are succeeding when they are not."
HIS VISION FOR A NEW ESEA
- "In my view, we should be tighter on the goals – with clear standards set by states that truly prepare young people for college and careers – but we should be looser on the means for meeting those goals."
- "We must be flexible and accommodating as states and districts – working with parents and non-profits -- develop educational solutions. We should be open to new ideas and we should build on what we know works."
- "We don’t believe that local educators need a prescription for success. But they do need a common definition of success -- focused on student achievement, high school graduation and college. We need to agree on what’s important and how to measure it or we will continue to have the same old adult arguments – while ignoring children."
WHY REAUTHORIZING ESEA IS URGENT
- "We want to be first in the world again and to get there we cannot waste a minute. Every year counts. Every class counts. Every child counts."
- "We’ve had five decades of reforms, countless studies and repeated affirmations and commitments from the body politic to finally make education a national priority. And yet we are still waiting for the day when every child in America has a high quality education that prepares him or her for the future. We’re still waiting to get great teachers and principals into underperforming schools. We’re still waiting for a testing and accountability system that accurately and fairly measures student growth and uses data to drive instruction and teacher evaluation. We’re still waiting for America to replace an agrarian 19th century school calendar with an information age calendar that increases learning time on par with other countries. We’re still waiting - and we can’t wait any longer."
- "More than any other issue, education is the civil rights issue of our generation and it can’t wait -- because tomorrow won’t wait – the world won’t wait – and our children won’t wait."
CALLING YOUR ORGANIZATIONS AND MEMBERS TO ACTION
- "This is our responsibility and our opportunity and we cannot allow it to slip away. Education is everyone’s responsibility – and you who represent millions of people across this country with a direct stake in the outcome of reauthorization – have a responsibility as well – to step up and do more."
- "Our task is to unite education stakeholders behind a national school reform movement that reaches into every town and city – and we need your help to do it."
- "To those who say that we can’t do this right now – we need more time to prepare and study the problem – or the timing and the politics isn’t right – I say that our kids can’t wait and our future won’t wait."
- "Let’s build a law that restores the honored status of educators – who should be valued as skilled professionals rather than mere practitioners and compensated accordingly. Let us end the culture of blame, self-interest and disrespect that has demeaned the field of education by recognizing the nobility of teaching and rewarding excellence."
- "Let’s build a law that provides real accountability tied to growth and gain in the classroom – rather than arbitrary goals and harsh rhetoric – a law that encourages educators to work with children at every level – and not just the ones near the middle who can be lifted over the bar of proficiency with the least effort."
- "Let’s build a law that discourages a narrowing of curriculum and promotes a well-rounded education that draws children into the arts and sciences and history in order to build a society distinguished by both intellectual and economic prowess."