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Daily Dish: Compromise Reached for Reauthorization of #ESEA

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November 20, 2015 02:59 pm

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A compromise was reached yesterday to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Today’s Dish will dive a little deeper into the action leading up to the agreement and what comes next.

Earlier this week, 39 bipartisan members of the House and Senate education committees were appointed to the conference committee to meet and debate proposed legislation to replace NCLB. The compromise was reached by combining the House’s Student Success Act and the Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act. As Education Week reports, the lead negotiators, Representatives John Kline, Bobby Scott, and Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, developed the agreement, called the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” which borrowed ideas from both the House and the Senate versions and helped to guide the conference process and formed the base for the official compromise.

There are several elements of the report that make the legislation more appealing than the House or Senate’s earlier proposals, as this week’s episode of Federal Flash notes. Some of the policies included are important to the administration and Congressional democrats, and others that are significant for Congressional republicans. The conference agreement includes accountability and support for the lowest performing 5 percent of schools, a major priority for the administration, and support for high schools that fail to graduate one-third or more of their students and schools with consistently low-performing groups of students who have been traditionally underserved. The agreement eliminates and block grants a number of federal education programs, and places limitations on the Department of Education to regulate, provisions that are majority priorities for Republicans.

As the Flash highlights, the framework is a bipartisan effort, with wins and losses for both Republicans and Democrats. Ed Week quotes Senator Alexander as saying: “This agreement, in my opinion, is the most significant step towards local control in 25 years,” whereas Senator Murray stressed the inclusion of “strong federal guardrails … so that students don’t get left behind.”

After meeting to hear opening remarks and consider amendments, seven of which passed and two failed, the full committee voted to approve the conference report on Thursday, by 38 to 1, with only Senator Rand Paul opposing.

So what comes next?

The framework will be turned into full legislative text available to the public and members of Congress on November 30th. Chairman Kline of the House Education Committee said that the bill is expected to be on the House floor on December 2 or 3, and if it passes, will move to the Senate for a vote, likely the week of December 7th. If it passes in the Senate, the bill would reach the President’s desk at the end of the year, and he is likely to sign the bill into law.

To stay up-to-date on the potential end of No Child Left Behind, sign up for an email alert when the next episode of Federal Flash is available at Alliance@all4ed.org.

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