Wednesday, January 11, 2012

House Education Committee completes two final bills

...and they'd dramatically change the role the federal government has in education, if they move through as written.
(You can read the bills here.)
While the grades 3-8 testing requirements remain, as does the requirement to report by subgroup, the House bill does not require science testing (which the Senate bill does require).
However, the bills:

  • Scrap adequately yearly progress, similar to the Senate bill and the Obama administration's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver plan. In its place, the House bill gives states the authority to develop their own accountability systems as long as they include annual measures of student achievement, annual evaluations of schools based on student achievement and closing achievement gaps, and school improvement interventions—overseen by school districts—for the lowest-performing schools. The House bill would also eliminate the School Improvement Grant program.
  • Eliminate all maintenance of effort requirements for states and districts, which require states and school districts to maintain their own education funding at a certain level to access federal funds.
  • Eliminate the highly qualified teacher requirements, and instead require states and districts to develop local teacher evaluation systems that use multiple measures of evaluation; incorporate student achievement data; include more than two rating categories; are tied to personnel decisions; and are developed with input from parents, teachers, and other staff. In contrast, the Senate bill maintains the highly qualified teacher requirements and only requires teacher evaluations for districts participating in competitive grant programs.
  • Limit the U.S. secretary of education's authority. As a clear response to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's support for the Common Core State Standards and his NCLB waivers, the bills assert that the secretary has no authority to address state standards, assessments, or accountability, and may not coerce states into entering into partnerships with other states.
(emphasis added)
So, yes, they aren't fond of Race to the Top, for example, nor the new systems this administration has required around School Improvement Grants.

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