US. Senate to Take Up ESEA Reauthorization Today

The U.S. Senate will gavel itself to order this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. (CDT) to debate legislation to reauthorize the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)–a/k/a the “No Child Left Behind” Act.

Debate on the Senate legislation (S. 1177–called the “Every Child Achieves Act of 2015”) is expected to last for several days, perhaps through the rest of the week, and possibly into the weekend.

Key elements of the more-than-600-page bipartisan bill to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act being taken up by the U.S. Senate include the following:

1. It would maintain the annual federal testing requirement.

2. It would allow states to create their own accountability systems.

3. It would maintain the requirement that states report disaggregated data to highlight achievements of subgroups of students.

4. It would not allow Title I dollars for low-income students to follow students to the public or private school of their choice (although amendments are expected to be offered to allow this).

5. It would maintain the requirement that states adopt challenging academic standards, but add the clarification that the federal government may not mandate or provide incentives for states to adopt any particular set of standards, including the Common Core State Standards.

In related news, the House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet this afternoon to discuss resuming debate on the House version of ESEA reauthorization (H.R. 5–The “Student Success Act”).  The House initially started to debate this legislation in February but did not reach a final vote.  It is expected that the resumption of the House debate will occur on Wednesday and will be brief.