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The Daily Dish: Senate Begins Consideration of Proposal to Rewrite ESEA

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April 14, 2015 01:45 pm


The Daily Dish digs deeper into one of the day’s top news stories on K–12 education. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed for all the latest updates and follow the Alliance on Twitter at @All4Ed for more education news.

Today is the day for ESEA. This afternoon, the U.S. Senate education committee will begin mark up on its proposed bipartisan bill to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind. A tweet this morning from the US Department of Education above a photo of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the bill into law 50 years ago summed up the necessity of ESEA. It read simply:

All students deserve an education that sets them up for success in college, careers, and life. #ESEA  

Going round the horn, there is much to be said about today’s ESEA discussion.

In a recent blog post, Phillip Lovell, vice president for policy and advocacy for comprehensive school reform at the Alliance for Excellent Education, outlines why the Alliance and several other civil rights organizations cannot support the bipartisan as it stands, pointing to the diminished support for traditionally underserved students and low-performing schools lacking in the rewrite from Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA).

Some Congressional members have been vocal about what they want from a new ESEA law. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) drew attention to her Next Generation High Schools Act on Monday. If amended under the new bill, would help transform low performing schools through grants and community partnerships. Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) spoke about the House bill on ESEA in The Huffington Post, stressing the importance of serving those in need. She tweeted today:

The 1st #ESEA was passed as part of the War on Poverty. But the @HouseGOP’s bill assumes that war is over #ESEA50

Assessments and accountability will likely be a major discussion for the Senate. Multiple measures for testing should be encouraged through ESEA, according to Linda Darling Hammond, faculty director at Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. In an op-ed for the Huffington Post Monday, Hammond suggested the new education law should not only consider how often students are tested but also why and how they are tested to ensure students experience “meaningful, engaging learning that prepares them for college and careers in our complex modern world.”

NPR’s Eric Westervelt noted, however, that under the proposed bill the number of tests students would be required to take would not be reduced, but “Significantly, those tests would mean less.”

For an overview of what to expect as the Senate education committee begins its remarks at 2:30 PM ET, click the embedded link below for a special edition of Federal Flash in which the Alliance examines important components of the bill:

For more information about the effort to rewrite NCLB, see the Alliance’s ESEA page, which includes descriptions of amendments expected to be offered during today’s committee meeting:



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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.