On Wednesday, December 2, the House approved a compromise bill to reauthorize the ESEA. This bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177), replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and reauthorizes the ESEA through FY 2020. The Arc and other major civil rights groups support the bill in the spirit of compromise. While The Arc advocated for stronger accountability provisions and greater protections for students with disabilities, the bill is a compromise and will require strong oversight of implementation at the state level. It includes the following provisions that we support:
- Requires regular testing in math, reading, and science.
- Ensures that students with disabilities continue to have access to the general education curriculum with challenging academic content standards.
- Requires that assessment data be disaggregated by disability status and other classifications
- Requires states to incorporate concepts of Universal Design for Learning.
- Ensures accommodations for assessments for students with disabilities, including interoperability and assistive technology.
- Limits the number of students in each state who may take the alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) to one percent of all students.
- Requires that schools explain to parents how participation in the AA-AAS may impact ability to obtain a regular diploma and prohibits schools from precluding those who take the test from earning a diploma.
- Requires states to develop plans to help the lowest-performing five percent of schools, schools where 1/3 or more of students do not graduate, and schools where any subgroup, such as students with disabilities, underperforms.
- Requires states to develop plans addressing how they will improve conditions for learning by reducing the incidence of bullying, overuse of disciplinary practices, and aversive behavioral interventions (such as restraint and seclusion).