In a 15–7 vote, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee voted to amend and reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (formerly known as No Child Left Behind). The language reflects a bipartisan effort drafted by Chairman Harkin (D-Iowa) and Ranking Member Enzi (R-Wyoming). Over the past two days, the amended language and 150 amendments were considered in a hearing.
The provisions of the bill include language that:
- Establishes college and career academic content standards in Reading /Language Arts and Math with the option to add other content.
- Alignment of English Language Proficiency Standards with academic content standards.
- Alignment of academic content standards, without the need for academic coursework, at public institutions of higher education in the state and is relevant with state technical and career standards.
- Establishes tracks to determine how well students are mastering the material in the academic content areas.
- Alignment of the state assessment instrument with the academic content standards.
- Provides the option of including a student growth model.
- Tracks students from 8th to 9th grade to better identify those who are at-risk of dropping out.
- Requires the identification of Achievement Gaps Schools, Persistently Low-Achieving Schools, and Targeted
NEA staff and state affiliate staff reviewed amendments to identify possible impacts on the states.
NEA was successful in inserting language that:
- Provides for a collaborative transformation model for turn-around schools
NEA was successful in removing language that would have
- linked Teacher and Principal evaluations to student performance; however, this is a mandate IF the state applies for a grant through the Teacher Incentive Fund; and
- given districts the authority to make forced transfers of teachers to low-performing, high-need schools as a means to ensure equity in the placement of highly-qualified teachers.
The bill now moves to the full Senate. The vote is not expected to happen before November 8 out of respect for an agreement struck between Sens. Harkin (D-Iowa), Enzi (R-Wyoming), and Paul (R-Kentucky).
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