On Thursday (July 18) the House is scheduled to begin debate on HR 5, the Student Success Act. This is the House Education and Workforce Committee passed bill to replace the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). NCLB was the last (rewriting) reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA was originally signed into law in April of 1965 and has been reauthorized eight previous times.
The measure makes many changes. To read an outline of the bill go to the committee website at http://edworkforce.house.gov/studentsuccessact/. It is important to note that this summary is from the majority. The bill passed the committee on a partisan vote. The major theme of the bill is to provide states and local government with greater control over how funding is used, what constitutes success, and the making of decisions. To read comments from the minority on HR 5 and why they oppose it go to: http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/blog/gops-partisan-bill-rewrite-education-system-lets-students-down
On Wednesday, July 17, 2013 the measure will be before the House Rules Committee. They will decide which of the over 50 amendments will be made in order and how debate will be conducted. To see a list of possible amendments go to: http://rules.house.gov/bill/hr-5-0
It is expected that one of the amendments will be from House Majority Leader Eric Canter (R-VA). His amendment would change the structure of Title I by allowing funds to follow the child. This amendment is called the portability amendment or “backpack” amendment. Also possible are amendments to change the funding formula for the targeted and ed finance formulas associated with Title I.
The Democrats will be offering an amendment in the nature of a substitute that is the same amendment they offered in committee that was defeated. It’s philosophy is different in that it has more requirements.
It is interesting to note that much of the discussion on HR 5has been on the federal-state-local relationship, there is clearly a lot more in the bill. The debate is also on how the federal government focuses on selected populations. For example, HR 5 eliminates the maintenance of effort requirements for Title I, how funding is used for specific areas of teacher training and how flexibility is managed. HR 5 also changes how and when the federal government intervenes in local decision making in schools that are failing. In HR 5 the intervention is basically after a school has failed.
NASTID is sending a letter to the Speaker praising the House for moving the reauthorization process forward but concerned with the lack of focus in HR 5 on high poverty children and voicing opposition to vouchers being created using Title I funds. To follow the debate use twitter @richlongtitlei.