For the first time since 2001, a comprehensive rewrite of ESEA has made it to the floor in Congress. On July 19 the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 5, the “Student Success Act,” which passed by a largely partisan vote of 221–207. The legislation seeks to drastically reduce the “federal footprint” for education policy, striking down many key provisions of No Child Left Behind and also eliminating several signature education programs introduced by the Obama administration. The vote followed two days of debate.
Sponsored by Representative John Kline (R- Minnesota,) the new law would give states and school districts more control as to how they hold schools accountable for the progress of students.
Amendments adopted during debate on Thursday included one that eliminates the requirement that states evaluate teachers based on student outcomes; under the amendment these evaluations would now be optional. The legislation also:
- Prevents the Department of Education from adopting the Common Core State Standards
- Eliminates Maintenance of Effort spending requirements for states in order to receive federal funding
- Adjusts Title I funding allocation requirements; effectively allowing states and LEAs to allocate funding to any schools with students below the poverty level regardless of the number or concentration of children in poverty.
What happens next is in the hands of the U. S. Senate. On June 4, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013. It seeks to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and replace No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The bill cleared mark-up in June and Harkin said that he hopes his bill will reach the Senate floor for an early fall vote.
Follow ESEA developments on Groundswell
Roz Fehr, NAfME Managing Editor for News, July 19, 2013. © National Association for Music Education