Education – Conference Committee Approves ESEA Reauthorization Framework

On November 19, a House and Senate conference committee approved an agreement for a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind).  The Committee passed the measure by a vote of 39-1 that would scale back the federal role in education for the first time since the early 1980s.  Below is a synopsis of the sections of the agreement that are most relevant to students with disabilities:

  • Repeals adequate yearly progress (AYP) and replaces it with a statewide accountability system. States are required to improve student learning in the state’s lowest performing 5 percent of schools, high schools with high dropout rates, and schools in which any group of students is consistently underperforming.
  • Maintains important information about student performance.  The agreement maintains annual, statewide assessments in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school, as well as science tests given three times between grades 3 and 12.
  • Improves accountability for learning outcomes for all students. The framework sets high standards for students with disabilities by putting in place a state-level participation cap of one percent of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who can take the alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards.

The bill text is expected to be publicly released on Nov. 30. Read the conference summary.

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