Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization Update >>

November 17th, 2015

Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization Update

On July 8, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The following week, on July 16, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed, S. 1177, which also reauthorizes ESEA. Both bills thankfully retain Title VII, the chapter pertaining to Native American education, which is a success in and of itself given previous versions of ESEA reauthorization in previous Congresses deleted this important chapter of ESEA. Both bills also contain new provisions to address needs in Native American education.

Now, the House and the Senate are working to convene a conference committee comprised of Members from both chambers of the U.S. Congress to reconcile the differences between the bills to develop a final bill. Leadership in the House announced conferees this afternoon, and it is anticipated that the Senate will name its conferees imminently. House and Senate leadership have indicated that they will work toward the goal of finalizing ESEA reauthorization by this Thursday. Any final bill that emerges from conference will have to be passed by both chambers and then signed into law by President Obama.

Late last Friday, Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) of the House Education and the Workforce Committee joined with their counterparts in the Senate, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, in releasing the following joint statement on efforts to reauthorize ESEA:

“We believe we have a path forward that can lead to a successful conference, and that is why we are recommending to our leadership to appoint conferees to take the next step in replacing No Child Left Behind. This is a law that everyone wants fixed, and teachers, parents, and students are counting on us to succeed. Our efforts to improve K-12 education will continue to reflect regular order, providing conference members an opportunity to share their views and offer their ideas. Because of the framework we’ve developed, we are optimistic that the members of the conference committee can reach agreement on a final bill that Congress will approve and the President will sign.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued the following statement on this positive congressional development on ESEA reauthorization:

“It is good news for our nation’s schools that Congress is taking the next step forward toward a serious bipartisan plan to revamp the outdated No Child Left Behind law. America’s students deserve a bill that increases educational opportunity for all and lives up to the civil rights legacy of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We are encouraged that Congressional negotiators appear to be moving toward a framework that accomplishes those goals. We urge members on both sides of the aisle to continue working together to produce and pass a good piece of legislation.”

If helpful, the following is a link to information on H.R. 5: http://edworkforce.house.gov/studentsuccessact/

Also, the following is a link to information on S. 1177: http://www.help.senate.gov

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