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ESEA Reauthorization is on the Move

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander's 400-page draft legislation for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was released on Jan. 12.  Below you will find other news about the reauthorization process and how your voices can be heard.  Stay tuned for information on public hearings in Congress.  Alexander has solicited feedback on his staff discussion draft and there were almost 8,000 commenters. Information on Senate HELP Committee hearings (Testing & Accountability-1/21/2015; Supporting Teachers & School Leaders-1/27/2013; Innovation to Better Meet the Needs of Students-2/3/2015),including recordings and written testimony.

TASH Action Alert:  Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the new Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, recently released a discussion draft bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), called the “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015.”  Senator Alexander’s draft bill severely weakens key measures in current law that support students with disabilities to be able to achieve to their greatest potential.   Read more about the three parts of the bill that threaten quality education and the future of students with disabilities: . . . Read more here...

USDE Secretary Duncan lays out priorities for education law: Testing, preschool funding, teacher evals – Source:  The Washington Post.  Education Secretary Arne Duncan spelled out his priorities for a new federal education law Monday, calling on Congress to build in funding for preschool, add $1 billion annually in federal aid for schools with the neediest students, and maintain the federal mandate that says states must test students every year in math and reading.  Read more here >>>

Civil Rights Orgs. Position on ESEA Reauthorization - Source:  NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  Washington – January 2015. Nearly 20 civil rights groups and education advocates released shared civil rights principles for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  In the principles, the groups highlight the important and historic role the federal government has played during the 50 years since the ESEA was originally passed in promoting educational opportunity and protecting the rights and interests of students disadvantaged by discrimination, poverty, and other conditions that may limit their educational attainment. The groups say that this role must be maintained in any bill to reauthorize the ESEA, along with ensuring that each state adopts college and career-ready state standards, aligned statewide annual assessments, and a state accountability system to improve instruction and learning for students in low-performing schools.  Find the full list of principles and organizations here:  Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization.

No Annual Testing in ESEA Reauthorization, Urges NEA President.  Source:  NEA Today.  NEA President Lily Eskelsen García welcomed the news on Monday that the Obama administration is calling for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) but said annual testing will continue to undermine any effort to provide every child with the resources they need to succeed academically.  Read more here >>> 

Senate Republicans Release ESEA Reauthorization Proposal.  Source:  Natl Assoc. of Secondary School Principals Blog.  “Fulfilling his promise to make reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) a top priority in the 114th Congress, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a discussion draft to improve the law as his first action as the new chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.  Similar to the bill he introduced in 2013, the purpose of the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act is “to restore freedom to parents, teachers, principals and other school leaders, States, Governors, and local communities so that that they can improve their local public schools.” To do so, the legislation would prohibit the U.S. Secretary of Education from prescribing the standards or measures that states use to establish state standards, assessments, accountability systems, systems that measure student academic growth, measures of other academic indicators, teacher and principal evaluation systems, or indicators of teacher and principal effectiveness."

Principal to Congress: I was wrong when I supported NCLB. Learn from my mistake.  Source:  Washington Post.  Here is an open letter to Alexander and his committee about the NCLB rewrite that was written by an award-winning principal, Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York.