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News & Press: Policy

ESEA Update - Senate Bill Passes, House to Mark Bill

Tuesday, June 18, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Denise Marshall

As you may be aware, several bills have been introduced in the House and the Senate to reauthorize ESEA, now known as No Child Left Behind.  See Recent Post  from June 12th

Senate ESEA

Here is an update on the remaining amendments presented in the Senate, voted on June 13th.

12. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) offer an amendment that would require states to include reporting on success in achieving industry recognized credentials as part of the required report cards. Agreed to by voice vote.

13. Senator Burr offered another amendment that would revise the state allocation formula in Title II by increasing the poverty factor resulting, in his opinion, to a more equitable distribution of funds to the most at-risk population. Amendment Failed 8-14 vote.

14. Senator Murray offered an amendment that would require new data reporting on interscholastic athletics to ensure that girls have opportunities to participate in sports similar to those offered boys. Amendment Passed 9-13 vote

15. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) offered an amendment that would allow the use of Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence) funds for school construction noting that the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Amendment Passed with a voice vote, no audible objection notes.

16. Senator Isakson (R-GA)- put forth an amendment that would retain a modified assessment known as the 2%. COPAA opposed this amendment and was pleased to see it failed 9-12. There was discussion of Sen. Harkin and Isakson convening a meeting to discuss further and try to come to agreement.

17. Senator Bennett (D-CO) Title XI – Advancing Rural Education, Create Office of Rural Education in the Department of Education. 11 yes, 11 nay; the amendment did not pass.

18. Senator Alexander (R-TN) Title I Amendment 2 –. Let States have the option to follow Title I money to follow the low-income children to the Public School they attend. This is not a voucher to Private Schools. Not agreed to by partisan vote of 10-12

19. Senator Baldwin (D-WI)– Title IV Amendment 1 – Authorizes grants to increase teacher capacity. Consolidates several programs in NCLB adds a comma and the words, "including agricultural education programs.” Agreed to by voice vote.

20. Senator Roberts (R-KS) – Title IX Amendment 1 – Restrict the Secretary's Waiver Authority and change 9401 to limit Executive authority and ensure waivers are led by State and local requests and be State Driven. Takes out the Maintenance of Effort restriction. Not agreed to by partisan vote of 10-12

21.Senators Warren (D-MA) and Franken (D-MN), Title V, Amendment 1 To establish a college information demonstration program, and for other purposes. Agreed to by voice vote

22. Senator Roberts (R-KS) - Title V, Amendment 1 To repeal the Race to the Top program because Congress has not fully funded part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Not agreed to by partisan vote of 10-12

23. Senator Murkowski (R-AK) Title VII, Amendment 1 - To amend title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 relating to Alaska Natives. Agreed to by voice vote.

24. Senator Isakson, Title I, Amendment 2 - To maintain strong State and local reporting on the performance of schools and limit increased and burdensome reporting requirements. Not agreed to by a vote of 9-13. Senator Kirk (R-IL) voted with Democrats in opposition.

The Senate Education Committee voted to pass the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The legislation, titled the Strengthening America's Schools Act of 2013 (SASA), makes major changes to ESEA and seeks to build upon the 37 states plus the District of Columbia that have ESEA waivers. However, not surprisingly, the vote fell along party lines with all democrats voting for the bill and all republicans voting against it. It is difficult to see how there will be agreement going forward.

House of Representatives ESEA

The House is expected to mark up its bill tomorrow, June 19th The Education and Workforce Committee proposal and related documents are available here.

COPAA sent Congressman Miller a letter urging that ESEA include provisions to protect all students from seclusion and restraint. COPAA also sent Congressman Miller a letter thanking him for introducing a substitute bill in the form of an amendment that supports students with disabilities, aligns with many of our policy goals, and includes the Keeping All Students Safe Act.

COPAA Signed onto the CPSD letter of concern to Chairman Kline stating that we cannot support this current proposal and respectfully request that Congress not move forward in considering it until more efforts are made to ensure equitable access to education for all students and stronger accountability measures for states and local education agencies (LEAs) that are inclusive of all students, including students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Among the serious concerns are the elimination of accountability, the elimination of Maintenance of Effort, the limit on the caps to alternate assessments and limits on Access to the General Education Curriculum.

The Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) sent an Ed Task Force Co-Chair letter to Chairman Miller thanking him for offering a substitute bill as an amendment in Committee that reinforces how students with disabilities have benefitted from ESEA because ESEA requires their academic achievement to be measured and reported, and for schools to be accountable for the progress of students with disabilities. As a result, more students with disabilities have been afforded the opportunity to learn and master grade-level academic content.

CCD also issued an alert about Chairman Kline's Student Success Act (H.R. 5), which will let schools discriminate against students with disabilities by taking them off track to graduate high school and be college and career ready. It will slash academic expectations for students with disabilities, allowing schools to provide a poor and inadequate education with no accountability. Under current law, schools must teach students with disabilities the same challenging curriculum as everyone else.As a result, the law ensures that students with disabilities learn at grade level. The law also is designed to ensure when students fall behind that schools must give them the extra support they need. Only students with the most significant cognitive disabilities are supposed to take an alternate assessment on alternate achievement standards. The law allows this alternate assessment for up to 1% of all students (10% of students with disabilities). But H.R. 5 bill would change all of this. It would allow schools to give as many students as they wish the alternate assessments by lifting the 1% cap. In reality, schools could provide vastly inferior educations, since they would not have to ensure proficiency at grade level.

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