Friday, July 19, 2013

What else is in the House bill that passed?

The continuing excellent coverage from EdWeek gives the rest of what is in the House bill (that passed 221-207, with 12 Republicans voting against):

States would no longer have to set specific goals for student achievement, either for all kids or for specific often-overlooked groups of students (such as students in special education and English-language learners).
When it comes to money, the bill would lock in the across-the-board cuts to federal spending (including education) put in place under "sequestration." That was a key Democratic talking point during floor debate.
And the bill would turn the Title I program for disadvantaged kids into a giant "block grant" of sorts, giving school districts the freedom to move federal dollars among programs for ELLs, neglected and delinquent children, rural students, and Indian children...
the measure would get rid of "maintenance of effort", the wonky name for the requirement that school districts and states keep up their own spending at particular levels in order to tap federal funds. AASA and other groups unsuccessfully tried to persuade lawmakers to allow for votes on amendments to reinstate maintenance of effort, but to no avail.
But, under the bill, states would have to set-aside 3 percent of their Title I funds for a competitive grant program that would allow districts to offer school choice or free tutoring.
The bill also would prohibit the U.S. Secretary of Education from imposing any conditions on states when it comes to standards and assessments, or from asking for any changes to state standards. (That appears to take direct aim at the requirement under waivers for states to adopt college- and career-ready standards.) And in fact, the bill specifically calls out the Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia.
There are also no renewals for any of the Obama administration's favorite grant programs, including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, the School Improvement Grants, or Promise Neighborhoods.
The Senate has passed a bill out of committee, but there's no word on when (if it all) it will come to the floor.

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