The Senate HELP Committee began its markup of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 – ESEA reauthorization. They met for 4 hours and took action on 12 amendments, including a few NEA priority amendments that yielded significant wins for assessment and accountability systems! They will reconvene today to try and finish consideration of the bill tomorrow.
Key amendment wins today:
- Alexander/ Murray substitute amendment to require multiple measures in elementary and middle schools in addition to high schools and mandate that states include at least one indicator of student or school supports within their accountability system to help draw attention to closing achievement gaps. (Passed by voice vote)
- Collins / Sanders amendment to ensure the pilot program on state-designed assessments are accessible to all states that meet the criteria and ensure those systems are driven by teaching and learning and not accountability alone. (Passed 14 – 0)
- Isakson amendment to ensure parent and guardian rights and allowing them to opt their child out of statewide academic assessments. (Passed by voice vote)
- Baldwin amendment to incorporate the SMART Act to help states and districts audit and streamline assessment systems, eliminate unnecessary assessments and improve the use of assessments. (Passed 14 – 0)
As we noted Monday, the underlying bill was already moving in a positive direction related to our core goals for ESEA reauthorization. Today’s key amendment wins are significant in making improvements specifically for the assessment and accountability system. We still have a lot of work to do to close opportunity gaps for students and reduce the number of assessments to allow student more time to learn.
Given the positive improvements that have been made in the bill and our need to see passage of ESEA out of the HELP Committee so we can continue to help shepherd this bill to the president’s desk, we will issue a letter to members of the committee urging a YES vote on final passage out of the committee. A strong vote out of the committee will give us our best chance to get the bill considered on the Senate floor where we will once again have the opportunity to amend the bill language.
Thank you for the amazing advocacy you and your members continue to show. It has made a difference. It will continue to make a difference. Look for another update from us tomorrow night.
Other amendment actions today:
- Baldwin Title I, #2 – NEA Supported. Requires states and local educational agencies to report Perkins Act proficiency data for career and technical education, which will help create school environments conducive for college and career. (Passed by voice vote)
- Bennet Title I, #1, – NEA Supported. Requires the use of actual personnel and non-personnel expenditures when determining compliance with Title I comparability. (Withdrawn)
- Bennet Title I, #4, – NEA Supported. Requires states to assess how LEA’s are required to collect data and ensure they have the technical and professional support needed to do so. (Passed by voice vote)
- Franken Title I, #1 – NEA Supported. Allows use of computer adaptive assessments. (Passed by voice vote)
- Murphy Title I, #2 – NEA Supported. Improves early childhood educator compensation. (Withdrawn)
- Murray Title I, #1 – NEA Supported. Allows for data collection for military-connected students. (Passed 15 – 7)
- Warren, Title I, #3 – NEA Supported. Amends state report card requirements to allow for cross-tabulation. (Withdrawn)
- Warren, Title I, #4 – NEA Opposed. Requires schools to apply for a waiver at the SEA level if they fall below 40% poverty threshold. (Failed 10 -12)
- Warren, Title I, #5 – NEA Supported. Adds language relating to the reliability of effectiveness measures of educators. (Failed 10 -12)