We haven’t seen a comprehensive reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—the primary federal education law—this close to being signed into law since 2002.
Last week, Members of Congress in the House and Senate made a bipartisan agreement on a framework to reauthorize ESEA. The framework will be used to draft a final bill that will then be considered by all members of the House and Senate.
The expected final bill—now called The Every Student Succeeds Act—will be available to the public on Mon., Nov. 30. The House could vote on the final bill as early as Dec. 2, with the Senate to take it up the week of Dec. 7.
Hundreds of PTA members have advocated to include Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) in the reauthorization and we are pleased to announce that these centers are included in this reauthorization framework.
The SFECs will provide targeted capacity-building and technical assistance for effective family engagement strategies where it’s needed the most. The proposed reauthorization also includes improvements to Title I, Section 1118, which requires school districts to establish family engagement plans and conduct family engagement activities.
If the final bill passes in Congress and is signed into law by President Obama, the new version of ESEA will include programs like preschool development grants and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children in high-poverty and low-performing schools.
The reauthorization would also require:
- States test students in grades 3-8 and once in high school in reading and math
- Districts and states report assessment data by student subgroups to identify and help close achievement gaps
- No public or private school portability (No Title I funds will be able to follow the child to the school of their choice) or voucher programs
- Districts and states provide access to well-rounded educational opportunities for all students by increasing access to STEM education, the arts, and ensuring safe and healthy school environments
National PTA is pleased to see the reauthorization process continue to move forward after years of stagnation. We hope bipartisanship and progress will remain during the final stages of the legislative process. Children, families, teachers and school administrators are depending on congress to reauthorize the outdated No Child Left Behind law.
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Lindsay Kubatzky is the government affairs coordinator at National PTA.