Rewrite of ESEA Nearing a Vote in U.S. Congress

Stacy Bogard

By Stacy Bogard, CAE, MASB Assistant Director of Communications, PR & Marketing

DashBoard, Dec. 2, 2015

Over the last few weeks, members of the U.S. Congress have been working toward a bipartisan rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind). The draft bill has received support from many groups, including the National School Boards Association, MASB’s parent organization, as it reduces federal oversight and institutes more local control. Below are links to more detailed information; follow @NSBAComm on Twitter for the most current updates.

Following are comments from NSBA on some of the key framework points1:

Repeals adequate yearly progress and replaces it with a statewide accountability system
The reference to high school dropout factories refers to those with a graduation rate of less than 67 percent.

Maintains important information about student performance

  • States would have the option to use “innovative assessments” such as the SAT.
  • It is largely consistent with current law.

Affirms state control of standards
larifies against any cohersion for states on Common Core, such as a condition for federal funds or other federal approvals.

Helps states to improve low-performing schools

  • Would eliminate the school improvement grant program.
  • School districts would be responsible for their management and oversight of their respective evidence-based reform efforts.
  • Special emphasis placed upon schools performing within the lowest 5%.

Improves accountability for learning outcomes for all students

  • Elevates English Language Proficiency as a component of accountability.
  • Maintains disaggregated data to address areas of proficiency and close the achievement gap among subgroups.
  • Military-connected children is a new element of subgroup accountability.

Targets funds to at-risk children

  • Maintains maintenance of effort and would allow flexibility to states for equitable distribution of funds.
  • Consistent with NSBA’s position regarding maximizing investments for the most vulnerable children.

Helps states increase teacher quality

  • Framework eliminates high quality teacher requirement in No Child Left Behind and includes a conforming amendment with the intention to harmonize with the Individual With Disabilities Education Act.
  • Emphasis on STEM subject areas and development of master teacher cores.

Supports at-risk populations
Allows school districts to consolidate certain funds, similar to the Rural Education Achievement Program to promote greater efficiency.

Provides greater funding flexibility to enhance support for students and schools
Allows school districts to consolidate certain funds, similar to the Rural Education Achievement Program to promote greater efficiency.

Promotes high–quality choices for parents
Would expand the charter school program, but also increases accountability.

Maintains and strengthens critical programs

  • While consolidating existing programs, many of the same initiatives are allowable uses of funds.
  • The preschool development grants program is a collaborative program between the Departments of Education and Health & Human Services with HHS being the lead administrator.


1 NSBA CSALS Community Posting by Kathleen Branch, Nov. 19, 2015.

Read More DashBoard Articles