Update: The Huffington Post reports that Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the top-ranking members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, reached a bipartisan agreement on a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on Tuesday afternoon. Most notably, the rewrite of the law, also known as No Child Left Behind, keeps annual tests in place while giving states more authority over how results are used and also arrives before its House counterpart, which has been held up by partisan disagreements.
- Senate education committee leaders Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) appear to be close to creating a new, bipartisan draft of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act currently up for reauthorization.
- In January, Alexander presented a draft of the bill that included Title I portability (dollars follow students to different schools), which did not sit well with many Democrats or President Obama. This, according to Education Week, is not likely to be in the new draft.
- Ed Week also points out that there are winners and losers on both sides with the new draft. Where Murray and Democrats have a victory if Title I portability is removed (the president had said he'd veto any bill that included that), many in that party will be unhappy with expected accountability measures: states will need to report subgroup data, but will be able to create their own plans.
Ed Week also says testing will likely stay the same under the new bill, which for many is problematic — especially given the current movement against over-testing. Ultimately, however, the reauthorization of ESEA (also known as No Child Left Behind) is needed fast. Currently, 41 states have received NCLB waivers, which means the system as it exists is not working. More importantly, the waivers come with additional expectations from the Obama administration (such as the adoption of Common Core or test-based teacher evaluations).