Wednesday, April 08, 2015


from Politico Morning Ed | By Caitlin Emma With help from Nirvi Shah |


4/8/15 10:00 AM EDT  :: Reaction to the education bill that everyone has been waiting for was quick to pour in on Tuesday, with many groups praising the No Child Left Behind compromise struck by Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander and ranking Democrat Patty Murray. Council of Chief State School Officers Executive Director Chris Minnich said the bill was a “strong starting point” for the Senate. Centrist think tank Third Way was “deeply encouraged” by parts of the bill, but hopes the amendment process will ensure that states can’t designate zero schools as low-performing and that schools can’t be labeled high-performing if they’re failing certain groups of students. The National Association for Music Education celebrated the bill for recognizing music as a core subject, calling it “game-changing news.” House Education and the Workforce ranking Democrat Bobby Scott called the bill an “important step,” but noted there’s more work to do. “Students, teachers, parents, and communities deserve a bill that fulfills ESEA’s original civil rights promise,” he said. “I hope we can restart the stalled process in the House to produce a bill for a bicameral bipartisan conference that protects the core principles of ESEA.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the bill was an “important step toward … a bipartisan solution.” “At a time of vital progress for vulnerable students, we must work to continue that progress,” he said. “That means in schools where groups of students are not getting the education they deserve, there must be meaningful action to improve student learning; and we must provide more resources and ask for bold action in the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools.”

— The Education Trust praised  [] many parts of the bill, but said it doesn’t set a “clear expectation that student progress toward college- and career- ready graduation matters most in the accountability system, coupled with a clear expectation that any school that is chronically low-performing or consistently underperforming for any group of students be identified for intervention and support.”

The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 would significantly scale back the federal role in education while trying to keep states from drifting too far. It maintains the annual testing mandate, but ditches NCLB’s hallmark accountability system. It would give states far more control over how they hold schools accountable and in how they decide to handle the lowest-performing schools. The bill doesn’t include Title I portability, which was pitched by House Republicans and which Democrats find hard to swallow. But analysts say the annual testing mandate will turn off some Republicans, libertarians and progressives who want it gone. And the bill likely won’t appeal to the far left and the far right. Maggie Severns reports that the bill still has a long way to go: The bill text: The Senate HELP Committee has scheduled a markup on April 14 at 10 a.m. ET:

Washington state lawmakers and district leaders, feeling the loss of the state’s waiver, are applauding the bill and what it would do to help the state. More from The Associated Press: In other news from the Evergreen State, Superintendent Randy Dorn’s office released materials on Tuesday to combat what he calls “misinformation” spread by “testing opponents.” “It’s important to focus on facts,” he said. More here:

And speaking of NCLB, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools has issued a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to reject House Republicans’ proposed rewrite of the law. The letter, signed by more than 100 groups, calls for at least $20 billion in funding for Title I and a moratorium on federal funding for the creation or expansion of charter schools, among other things:

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