ESEA and the Return of a Well-Rounded Curriculum – Education Next

By Robert Pondiscio

Like many, I’m convinced that what happens inside the classroom—curriculum and instruction—has as much of an impact (if not more) on student outcomes than structural reforms. For those who believe as I do, the revamped Elementary and Secondary Education Act has the potential to help states figure out how to hold schools accountable for student learning and what, if anything, to do about teacher evaluations. Let me throw out a few ideas.

“If you want more of something, subsidize it,” Ronald Reagan famously quipped. “If you want less of something, tax it.” During the No Child Left Behind era, test-driven accountability has too often stood Reagan’s maxim on its ear. Annual reading tests have practically required schools and teachers to forsake the patient, long-term investment in knowledge and vocabulary that builds strong readers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers. High-stakes accountability with annual tests that are not tied to course content (which reading tests are not) amounted to a tax on good things and a subsidy for bad practice: curriculum narrowing, test preparation, and more time spent on a “skills and strategies” approach to learning that doesn’t serve children well. Under the new ESEA, states will still have to test students annually, including in reading. But they have a lot more control over the way the results from those tests are turned into grades for schools.  This could offer an opportunity to restore some sanity to schooling.

via ESEA and the Return of a Well-Rounded Curriculum – Education Next : Education Next.

ESEA Reauthorization: The Every Student Succeeds Act Explained – Education Week

By Alyson Klein

The newest proposed version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act—has officially been released.

Votes in both chambers of Congress are expected over the next couple weeks. If all goes as planned, the bill will reach President Barack Obamas desk by the end of the year—and hes expected to sign it.

So what is in the ESSA, when it comes to accountability, testing, programs, and more? And how does it compare to No Child Left Behind Act, Classic Edition, and the Obama administrations NCLB waivers?

via ESEA Reauthorization: The Every Student Succeeds Act Explained – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

With the ESEA Conference Set to Kick Off, Is the End Near for NCLB? – Education Week

By Alyson Klein

After eight years and at least three serious attempts, Congress is finally moving forward on bipartisan, bicameral legislation to rewrite the almost-universally-despised No Child Left Behind Act, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The preliminary agreement—or “framework”—as the lead negotiators, Reps. John Kline, R-Minn., and Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., are calling it—is not the final word. Instead, its a jumping off point to set the stage for an official conference committee that begins Wednesday and could end this week.

via With the ESEA Conference Set to Kick Off, Is the End Near for NCLB? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

Lawmakers Announce Preliminary Agreement On ESEA Rewrite – Education Week

By Alyson Klein

Its official: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Reps. John Kline, R-Minn., and Bobby Scott, D-Va., on Friday announced that they have a framework for moving forward on a long-stalled rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The next step: a conference committee, which could kick off in coming days. The goal is to pass a bill to revise the ESEA—the current version of which is the No Child Left Behind Act—for the first time in 15 years, by the end of 2015.

via Lawmakers Announce Preliminary Agreement On ESEA Rewrite – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

Rewriting No Child Left Behind: Three Testing Issues to Watch – Education Week

By Alyson Klein

So, despite all of the political pushback to testing, we all know that annual tests are likely to stick around if Congress reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in coming months. (That wasnt always a slam dunk, but now it basically is.)

But that doesnt mean that testing isnt—or hasnt been—an issue behind the scenes, as congressional aides and the top lawmakers on education issues—Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Reps. John Kline, R-Minn., and Bobby Scott, D-Va, along with the Obama administration—work through key ESEA issues.

via Rewriting No Child Left Behind: Three Testing Issues to Watch – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

States May Get More Control Over Accountability. What Will They Do With It? – Education Week

By Alyson Klein

If Congress reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and gives states way more control over their own accountability systems, what will they do with it?

Pretty much the same thing they have been doing for the past four years, says a report released Tuesday by the Council of Chief State School Officers. More specifically: States will continue crafting and implementing accountability systems that build on nine basic principles outlined by state education leaders way back in 2011.

The report comes as staffers to all four major federal lawmakers on education—Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash. as well as Reps. John Kline, R-Minn. and Bobby Scott, D-Va., are burning the midnight oil on a compromise bill to reauthorize ESEA that seeks to restore serious authority over K-12 policies to states. More on where all that work stands here.

via States May Get More Control Over Accountability. What Will They Do With It? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

Senate Rejects School Voucher Amendment During ESEA Debate – Education Week

By Lauren Camera

The U.S. Senate waded into its first contentious debate since it began considering an overhaul to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, voting on and ultimately rejecting a voucher amendment that would have allowed Title I dollars for low-income students to follow them to the public or private school of their choice.

The amendment, offered Wednesday by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., co-author of the bipartisan bill, would have provided low-income students with a $2,100 scholarship to use at their discretion.

“Equal opportunity in America should mean that everyone should have the same starting line,” said Alexander. “There would be no better way to help move students from the back of the line to the front.”

via Senate Rejects School Voucher Amendment During ESEA Debate – Politics K-12 – Education Week.