ESEA Update: More Red Than Green in Lamar Alexander’s Reauthorization Bill



By 01/14/2015

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Last week, I explained the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (a.k.a. No Child Left Behind) in a single table:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Now that Senator Alexander, chairman of the HELP Committee, has released a draft bill, let’s take a look at where it stands on these various issues (items that moved are in bold):

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

In brief, most of my “yellow” items went to red—as in, they got left on the cutting room floor. Just testing in science and a version of School Improvement Grants made it to the “green” territory.[1] And most intriguingly, annual testing—the star of the current debate—stays in yellow thanks to Alexander’s equivocation on the issue. (He included two options in his bill—either keep the current annual testing requirements or let states propose something that is similar in spirit.)

To be sure, this is just the opening bid. Conservatives will aim to shrink the green list, and liberals will aim to grow it. What’s still not known is where the president’s “red line” may fall. Stay tuned!

—Michael J. Petrilli

[1] As several readers noted, the School Improvement Grants program is officially gone, though the bill does include a large state set-aside for school improvement activities.

This post originally appeared on the Fordham Institute’s Flypaper blog




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