Senate ESEA Bill Receives Pushback from Education Organizations

On Oct. 17 Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, agreed to move ahead with a bipartisan effort to reauthorize ESEA. Enzi pointed out in a statement that while there are still details that they disagree on (such as the extent of local control), he does not think the Department of Education’s NCLB Waivers are the way to correct the law, and he believes the Senate can comprise and present a strong bill to the House and the President. However, a group of five education organizations believes that the Senate is moving too quickly to counteract the waivers and, in the process, might be including unreasonable provisions.

Key Objections

  • Teacher and Principal Evaluations: They are concerned about the “capacity of states and local school districts to develop meaningful evaluation systems that do not become mechanisms for forced teacher and principal distribution.”
  • Growth Models and Multiple Measures: “…states will need more flexibility to design and implement robust multiple measures of student achievement.”
  • Assessments: “…the proposed law, while opening a conversation around growth measures, is still heavily reliant on the idea of testing every child, every year through one single high-stakes summative assessment.”
  • Turnaround Models: “the models are still highly prescriptive and four of the six are overly reliant on forced firing of teachers and principals.”

In the meantime, Education Week reports that the legislation has passed the HELP Committee; Senator Harkin would like to put get the legislation to the Senate floor before Thanksgiving.

More information

“Harkin, Enzi Announce Bipartisan Support for Moving Forward with Education Reform Bill”
Senate HELP Committee

“Enzi: ESEA Bill Represents Good Starting Point in Legislative Process”
Senate HELP Committee

“Key Ed. Groups to Harkin: Let’s Slow Down on ESEA”
Politics K-12, Education Week

Letter to Senators Harkin and Enzi (Oct. 16, 2011)

“Senate Education Panel Approves ESEA Rewrite Bill”
Politics K-12, Education Week

2 Responses to “Senate ESEA Bill Receives Pushback from Education Organizations”

  1. 1 Daniel October 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    who are the 5 education organizations that are referenced above?

  2. 2 edpublishing October 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    The signers listed on the letter are:

    American Association of School Administrators
    National Association of Elementary School Principals
    National Education Association
    National School Boards Association

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October 2011


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