The House Education Committee’s final two bills to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) would dramatically reduce the federal footprint in holding schools accountable for performance and transform the nation’s approach to improving teacher effectiveness.

The bills’ key provisions would

  • Maintain current requirements to test students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. The bill would also maintain the requirement to disaggregate those test data by student subgroup, however, students would no longer be required to take state science tests, which is a departure from both current law and the Senate’s ESEA rewrite.
  • Scrap adequately yearly progress, similar to the Senate bill and the Obama administration’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver plan. In its place, the House bill gives states the authority to develop their own accountability systems as long as they include annual measures of student achievement, annual evaluations of schools based on student achievement and closing achievement gaps, and school improvement interventions—overseen by school districts—for the lowest-performing schools. The House bill would also eliminate the School Improvement Grant program.
  • Eliminate all maintenance of effort requirements for states and districts, which require states and school districts to maintain their own education funding at a certain level to access federal funds.
  • Eliminate the highly qualified teacher requirements, and instead require states and districts to develop local teacher evaluation systems that use multiple measures of evaluation; incorporate student achievement data; include more than two rating categories; are tied to personnel decisions; and are developed with input from parents, teachers, and other staff. In contrast, the Senate bill maintains the highly qualified teacher requirements and only requires teacher evaluations for districts participating in competitive grant programs.
  • Limit the U.S. secretary of education’s authority. As a clear response to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s support for the Common Core State Standards and his NCLB waivers, the bills assert that the secretary has no authority to address state standards, assessments, or accountability, and may not coerce states into entering into partnerships with other states. Read Full Article at the ASCD Website.

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