Hearings on two bills that would reauthorize ESEA

The House Education and Workforce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN) held a hearing concerning two bills that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: the Student Success Act (H.R. 3989), and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R.3990).

Under the current law, students with the most significant cognitive disabilities take an alternate assessment on alternate achievement standards.  The law allows this alternate assessment for up to 1% of all students (10% of students with disabilities). Under H.R. 3989, the cap would be lifted. Without the cap, schools could decide to use alternate standards and alternate assessments for larger numbers of students. The bills would reduce the current law’s focus on the participation and progress of students with disabilities and other subgroups.

Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced a bill to reauthorize ESEA earlier this year which was reported out of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee favorably. There are differences between the House and Senate versions of the ESEA reauthorization bills. There is little optimism that ESEA will be reauthorized this year.

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