Jul 10, 2009
It is a unique moment in education policy. From the highest levels of leadership–the president and the U.S. secretary of education–there is a call to action to address the high school crisis, focus on the lowest-performing schools, and graduate students college and career ready. Over the last few years, congressional leaders have developed legislative proposals based on research and best practice that demonstrate possible ways forward for federal policy. The recent infusion of new funds from the federal stimulus program has opened the nation’s eyes to new opportunities and reinvigorated efforts to improve education. And the state-led movement to develop common standards and assessments offers the nation an opportunity to trade incremental changes for collaborative efforts with the power to truly transform American education. It is time to harness this progress and momentum, and convert commitment and proposals into a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) strategically designed to address the high school crisis and move the nation toward the goal of all students graduating from high school ready for college and careers. This brief provides recommendations for an ESEA reauthorization that would help ensure federal policy not only maintains pace with the common standards initiative, but also serves as a leader and partner in helping bring the potential of this and other efforts to fruition.