Saturday, October 22, 2011

out of committee

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act renewal is out of the Senate subcommittee on a 15-7 vote (read that link for the conditions under which Senator Bennett of Colorado will eat the bill.) The President is not thrilled with the "teacher accountability" pieces of the bill (much drumbeat there on "accountability" and the global economy).
EdWeek's rundown of the big points of the bill:

It would keep the NCLB law’s regime of testing students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. And it would retain the law’s focus on breaking out achievement data for various subgroups of students, including racial minorities, students with disabilities, and English-language learners.
But the version approved by the committee after a two-day markup also would drastically scale back the accountability system at the heart of the NCLB law, which was approved with broad bipartisan support in 2001. Among other changes, the panel's bill would:
• Scrap the law’s signature yardstick, known as Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP.
• Put a halt to federally-directed interventions for all but the lowest performing schools and schools with persistent achievement gaps between low-income.
• Lay out a series of federal interventions for turning around the lowest-performing schools based in part on the administrations regulations for the School Improvement Grant program.
• Call on states to craft college-and-career standards, but not require them to join the Common Core State Initiative, which nearly all states already have done; and
• Streamline the Department of Education by consolidating 82 programs into about 40 broader baskets of funding.

...which means, I fear, that we're looking at something like many of the worst parts of NCLB crossed with some of the big problems with Race to the Top.
It's moving. There's hope it can be brought to the floor soon, with a push to reconcile by Christmas.

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