*** UPDATE – November 30, 2015: The language for the combined House/Senate bill is now available here. ***


Last week, the House and Senate conference committee reached agreement on a proposal to replace No Child Left Behind.
The legislation is expected to be on the floor of both chambers shortly after the Thanksgiving recess. It represents a compromise between the House-passed Student Success Act (HR 5) and the Senate-passed Every Child Achieves Act (S 1177).

Conference Agreement on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 

 

This bipartisan agreement is a historic step in reforming K-12 education. The lead negotiators – Representatives John Kline (R-MN) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA)—borrowed ideas from both the House bill that passed in July with only Republican support as well as the Senate bill, which carried broad bipartisan support.

As one of the lead negotiators, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), explained to the media:

This agreement, in my opinion, is the most significant step towards local control in 25 years.” – Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

According to the House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) this agreement addresses three key principles:

  • “Reduces the federal role in K-12 education. One-size-fits-all federal policies dictating accountability and school improvement are eliminated.”
  • “Restores local control by returning to state and local leaders the primary responsibility for accountability and school improvement. The framework protects the right of states to opt out of federal education programs, as well as provides new funding flexibility so federal resources are better spent on priorities set at the local level.”
  • “Empowers parents. We continue to promote transparency about school performance, so parents have the information they need to do what’s best for their children. We also strengthen the charter school program and magnet school program to offer parents greater school choice.”

(Read the full summary http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/joint_esea_conference_framework_short_summary.pdf )

 

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Conference Agreement

The joint House-Senate conference committee’s agreement on a proposal to improve K-12 education and replace No Child Left Behind. The agreement represents a compromise between the House-passed Student Success Act (HR 5) and the Senate-passed Every Child Achieves Act (S 1177).

Highlights in the proposal include:

  • Replaces the one-size-fits-all “adequate yearly progress” federal accountability system under current law with a comprehensive State-designed system that improves State capacity to identify and support struggling schools.
  • Builds on State-led innovation in measuring school performance using multiple measures beyond test scores, including student engagement, access to and completion of advanced coursework, and school climate and safety.
  • Maintains annual, statewide assessments in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school, as well as science tests given three times between grades 3 and 12.
  • Requires that the federal government not mandate or incentivize states to adopt or maintain any particular set of standards, including Common Core.
  • Ends federal mandates on teacher evaluations, while allowing states to innovate with federal funding.
  • Improves the Charter Schools Program by investing in new charter school models, as well as allowing for the replication and expansion of high-quality charter school models.
  • Includes early childhood education under the federal education umbrella.
  • Authorizes ESEA for four more years, which means that lawmakers will be able to revisit the policy under the next Administration.

(Read the full summary http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/joint_esea_conference_framework_short_summary.pdf )