Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides a real opportunity to create legislation that serves all groups of children equitably. Done right, a new law will keep federal, state, and local leaders honest about efforts to educate all children to high levels, especially students of color and those from low-income households. If not constructed thoughtfully, the law could hurt children.

Gutting major provisions around assessment, transparency, and accountability could return us to a time when the academic performance of some students was hidden.

Why Strengthening the Accountability Provisions of Every Child Achieves Is So Important

As the U.S. Senate considers approval of the Every Child Achieves Act, members will be asked to vote to strengthen the accountability provisions of the law so schools will be expected to act when any group of students in consecutive years don’t meet state-set goals. Both national and state-level data show clearly why such action is needed.

Click on a state to see national and state achievement data.


State Accountability

Latest News

Follow the latest news and opinion on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as developments unfold.

Latest Actions

Want to have a better grasp of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act? We respond to the significant developments to help you make sense of the details and let you know where we stand.

Latest Resources

Check out our latest resources to get up to speed on the assessment, accountability, and funding discussions swirling around reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

News

Fine. A new No Child Left Behind. But what if students don’t learn?

The landmark 2002 No Child Left Behind law was built on compelling principles: All children can learn. Every school should be held responsible for students’ academic growth.

NCLB, however, proved to be too inflexible. It set up even successful schools to be labeled as failures. So the Obama administration waived many onerous NCLB requirements for most states, including Illinois, and … waited for Congress to pass a desperately needed update to make the law more practical and effective. Years passed.

This month, though, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a sweeping NCLB overhaul called Every Child Achieves, just days after the House narrowly passed its version, the Student Success Act.

Mission accomplished? No. More like mission averted.

Read more


 A No Child Left Behind outcome worth saving

The nation needs a much better education law that maintains federal oversight of student achievement.

THE No Child Left Behind education law produced one outcome worth salvaging: an emphasis on holding schools accountable for the academic achievement of all students.

Now, as Congress considers two bills to reform the federal education law, some lawmakers want to loosen federal oversight of school performance — a long step backward for the nation’s education system.

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Education reform, with focus on accountability

By Chris Coons and Cory Booker, July 15, 2015.

‘What do you want to be when you grow up?” is one of the most basic questions we ask our kids – perhaps a question they get more than any other.

Equally important is a question we should be asking ourselves as parents and as Americans: Are we doing everything we can to make sure all of our kids have the chance to achieve their dreams?

The Senate is debating major updates to our nation’s public school system for the first time in more than a decade. The legislation, which reforms 2001’s No Child Left Behind Act, makes important strides to improve American education, but it could still leave far too many of our children behind.

So we ask our colleagues in the Senate: Are we really doing everything we can to make sure all of our kids have the same opportunities to succeed?

Right now, the answer is no.

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Kati Haycock to the U.S. Senate: Vote Yes on Amendment #2241 to the Every Child Achieves Act

By Kati Haycock, July 14, 2015.

Dear Members of the U.S. Senate:

I write to urge you to vote yes on Amendment #2241 to the Every Child Achieves Act, which was introduced by U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Since it was originally signed into law in 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has played a critically important role in the education of children who are often underserved in their own communities. Yes, the federal government provides only about 10 cents on the dollar in the finance of American K-12 education. But its laser focus on low-income children, children of color, students with disabilities, and English learners has helped to make sure these children don’t get short-changed in their communities and states.

In previous attempts to reauthorize this critical law, Congress worked hard to incorporate lessons learned during the previous reauthorizations. By building on those lessons, they steadily improved the law’s effectiveness in bettering outcomes for students who have been historically disadvantaged in our school system.

That responsibility — for improving the law’s effectiveness in bettering student outcomes — is no less important today, for these students now comprise a majority of American K-12 students. Both their futures, and our collective future, are at stake.

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Kati Haycock on Accountability Amendment #2241 to the Every Child Achieves Act

WASHINGTON (July 14, 2015) — Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust, issued the following statement on Amendment #2241 filed today by U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

“Today we applaud Sens. Murphy, Booker, Coons, Durbin, and Warren for introducing this much needed accountability amendment that strengthens key provisions in the Every Child Achieves Act by setting the expectation that states, districts, and schools take action when any group of students fails to meet state-set goals in consecutive years. No matter what school a child attends — whether it is a school performing at the bottom 5 percent in their state or a school that is high-performing for most students — vulnerable students will know that their education matters.

“In previous attempts to update this critical law, Congress built on lessons learned and steadily improved the law’s effectiveness. Since this law was last reauthorized, we’ve learned a great deal about the need for increased state ownership of accountability systems. But in granting that much needed flexibility, this Congress cannot abandon the expectation of progress for the vulnerable students who are the special focus of the law and action when progress isn’t happening.

“Certainly, our schools need flexibility in how they act, and the law guarantees them exactly that. But surely that flexibility — especially when it is accompanied by $15 billion in taxpayer dollars — shouldn’t include no action at all.

“This amendment creates a strong signaling system that not only alerts local policymakers, school leaders, teachers, and parents when groups of students are missing state expectations, but also requires action so that children are not permitted to struggle academically without a lifeline being thrown.

“While this amendment goes a long way to support our nation’s most underserved students, even more work will be needed in Conference to ensure that the accountability provisions of the law are focused where they should be: primarily on improving academic outcomes for all groups of children. But with its clear expectation of action both on behalf of chronically low-performing schools and when any group of students is not progressing, Amendment #2241 is an important step forward in improving the accountability provisions of the Every Child Achieves Act.

“As the Senate completes its work on this law, we strongly urge Members not to lose focus on the very children this law was created to serve. Please give these students the education law that they deserve.”


Statement From The Education Trust on the Opt-Out Amendment #2162

WASHINGTON (July 14, 2015) — The Education Trust issued the following statement today on Amendment 2089, an opt-out amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act, offered by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

“The Education Trust opposes Amendment 2089, which would require states to allow students to opt — or be opted — out of statewide assessments for any reason, effectively nullifying state policies on test participation. States use statewide standards, and the assessments based on them, to serve as a check to ensure the vulnerable students who are the focus of federal law are not being subjected to lower expectations than their peers.

“The Commonwealth of Kentucky, for example, has made it clear that students can opt out of the state’s public school system, but if they choose to attend public schools, they will participate in assessments. Amendment 2089 would undermine that decision and decisions like it across the country.

“Kentucky State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says, ‘As a state, information on how students are performing is essential to improving learning outcomes for all children. We cannot improve public education without a clear understanding of how each child is performing academically and how schools are meeting the needs of all students. If this amendment passes, it will put students, parents, teachers and schools at a disadvantage by taking away the opportunity to see a complete picture of how kids are performing and how we can help them.’

“Under this amendment students who opt out would not be counted in the 95 percent participation rate requirement for a state’s accountability system, thereby undermining the expectation that schools are accountable for the academic progress of all students. Until federal law insisted that all children be included in statewide assessments, schools could and did mask disparities by excluding certain children — especially low-income students, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities — from tests. This amendment would take us back to that time.”


Admiring the Problem, or Solving It

By Kati Haycock, July 13, 2015.

In fall 2016, Jamillah will leave her Head Start classroom to begin kindergarten in a suburb of Washington, DC. Like many of her Head Start classmates, she is a tiny bundle of joy and curiosity; she loves colored pencils and books of all sorts, and adores singing the alphabet song. But though she will be better prepared for school than many other low-income children — after all, she got one of those coveted Head Start seats — Jamillah won’t arrive in kindergarten with anywhere near the vocabulary, early literacy, and math skills of her more advantaged counterparts.

The question for us as Americans, not to mention for Congress and the White House as they try to complete work on the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is what should we expect of Jamillah and the thousands more like her who will enter school at the same time?

Even more to the point, what should we expect of the school systems charged with educating such students?

Read more


Senate proposal to rewrite No Child Left Behind falls miserably short

By The Washington Post Editorial Board, July 7, 2015.

THE FEDERAL government each year gives states about $37 billion for elementary and secondary schools and students. Of that, about $15 billion goes to Title I, which is intended to help local school districts improve achievement for underserved students. Taxpayers have a right to expect results from that investment; one would hope their elected representatives would agree. Remarkably, though, as they debate a renewal of the No Child Left Behind law, many legislators are fighting to abandon any such accountability. Their success would mark a defeat for the nation’s neediest students.

Congress this week began debating the long-overdue reauthorization of the 2001 law that was a landmark achievement of former president George W. Bush and Democrats including the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.). On the Senate floor is a bill that in April won unanimous, bipartisan approval from the Senate education committee. House Republicans are expected to try to revive legislation that earlier was withdrawn for lack of support.

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 Congress must not reverse course on education

Posted on The Hill by George Miller and Celine Coggins, July 6, 2015.

This week, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate may vote on the rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). First passed in 1965, it is now commonly known as the No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law in 2002. The next chapter in the story of American education is about to be written. We may represent the polar ends of the education system — a former chairman of the House Education Committee and a former classroom teacher — but we have a shared belief that now is the opportunity to get it right.

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Don’t Let Our Kids Fall Behind

Posted on Huffington Post by Kati Haycock, May 15, 2015.

This year, I am spending a lot of my time inside the beltway, advocating on behalf of students and families who have been traditionally underserved.

While the children themselves are always top of mind in the advocacy work we do, the voices of teachers and school leaders who serve them well are also incredibly important. In communities across the nation, these educators are doing the remarkable work of getting all students, including those who arrive at school behind, to reach high academic levels. Their work provides important evidence of what is possible.

As Congress continues to debate what should be in a reauthorized ESEA, it is important for Members to hear from some of the teachers and principals who serve students in some of our most distressed and impoverished communities.

Read more


The bill to revise No Child Left Behind is deficient

Washington Post Editorial, April 10, 2015

A BIPARTISAN senate bill to revise No Child Left Behind preserves annual testing of students as well as the requirement that test scores, broken down by race, income and special needs, be made public. We are glad to see recognition of how critical these much-maligned measures have been in improving student achievement since the law took effect 13 years ago. But as important as it is for the public to know how students are doing, it’s also urgent that schools be required to respond when students are failing. The bill is deficient on this score. As it advances in the Senate, its measures on accountability need to be strengthened.

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 School Superintendents’ Association Pushes Congress on NCLB Rewrite

Posted on Education Week’s blogs by Lauren Camera, April 6, 2015

In an unprecedented move by the nation’s public school superintendents’ groups at both the state and national level, AASA, the School Superintendents Association, and 49 state affiliates sent a letter to members of Congress Monday urging them to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act, the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

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Do not abandon No Child Left Behind

Washington Post Editorial, March 28, 2015

U.S. EDUCATION officials in February had some modestly good news to announce: the nation’s high school graduation rate had inched up to a historic high. This month came even more encouraging news: Those rates have improved for all types of students, as the achievement gap that separates minority students from their white peers has narrowed.

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Getting Real About Over-Testing

Posted on TNTP Blog by Dan Weisberg, March 26, 2015

If you want a surefire way to dampen the mood at a party or heighten the tension at your dinner table, bring up standardized testing. It’s the part of our education system everyone loves to hate.

Read more


American has no kids to spare

Posted on The Hill by Arne Duncan, Marc Morial and Janet Murguia, March 23, 2015

All of our children deserve an equal chance to succeed. Being the nation we’re meant to be — the nation we’re proud to be — starts with providing a great education for every child, from every family, in every community. It’s an essential step in ensuring that the reality of America lives up to the powerful promise of America.

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Don’t Give Up the Gains in Education

New York Times Editorial, February 21, 2015

Congress made the right decision a decade ago when it required states to administer yearly tests to public school students — and improve instruction for poor and minority students — in return for federal education aid.

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Resources Without Accountability Won’t Work Any Better Than Accountability Without Resources

Posted on Huffington Post by Kati Haycock on February 18, 2015

At first, our coalition of national civil rights, business, and disabilities organizations may seem like odd bedfellows. Indeed, during the course of a typical year, these organizations disagree on many matters of public policy.

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Any rewrite of No Child Left Behind should keep annual testing provisions

THE U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Council of La Raza, Business Roundtable and the Education Trust disagree about many things. That makes all the more significant their common accord that the country can’t afford to retreat from policies that aim to give every child — regardless of race, ability or family income — access to a quality education. We hope it’s a message that Congress doesn’t lose sight of as it undertakes a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind act.

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What Do Teachers Really Think About Assessment?

Posted on The Equity Line by Rachel Metz on February 12, 2015

This week, congressional staffers and others had a too-infrequent opportunity to hear from teachers about the role of assessments in education. During a Hill briefing, teachers with Teach Plus spoke from their diverse perspectives, but they all echoed a common theme: High-quality assessments — ones that are aligned to curriculum, measure growth among students at all achievement levels, and ask complex questions — are an invaluable tool for instruction. Here’s what they had to say:

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Closing Long-Standing Opportunity and Achievement Gaps: Testing and Transparency Are Critical, But Schools Must Be Accountable for Doing Their Part

Posted on The Equity Line by Kati Haycock on February 2, 2015

It’s a common refrain on Capitol Hill that the new education law Congress is working on right now should get the federal government out of micromanaging American public schools, letting states and communities decide how to educate their children.

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 Too Much Testing? Or Not Enough Quality Testing?

Posted on The Equity Line by Sonja Brookins Santelises on January 27, 2015

As an educator who has spent nearly all of her professional life in urban education, I am deeply concerned about the direction that current (and admittedly much-needed) discussions about over-testing in our public schools has taken.

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 What Would Happen Without Annual Testing?

Posted on The Equity Line by Deborah Veney on January 22, 2015

have a very personal connection to annual testing.

When my daughter began elementary school, I decided to enroll her in a school with ethnic and economic diversity. I didn’t want her to be the only little, black girl in her class, but I also didn’t want to sacrifice academic rigor.

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 What’s the Score on Assessments? Most Say to Keep Them Annual and Make Them Count

Posted on The Equity Line by Matt De Ferranti on January 21, 2015

Today’s Senate hearing on assessments and accountability reaffirms why annual statewide testing used to prompt meaningful action is essential for continuing the academic progress we’ve seen for students and schools over the last decade.

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Civil Rights Organizations Agree: Students Who Aren’t Tested Won’t Count

Posted on The Equity Line by Kati Haycock on January 11, 2015

Today, a large coalition of civil rights and disabilities organizations — including The Education Trust — released its top priorities for Congress to consider when reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as ESEA, later this year. Among those priorities, at least one might come as a bit of a surprise: continuation of the federal requirement that states test all students in grades three through eight once a year, and again at least once during high school.

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Dumb Policy Ideas Not Limited to the Far Right

Posted on The Equity Line by Kati Haycock on January 14, 2015

The joint proposal for ESEA reauthorization from the Center for American Progress and the American Federation of Teachers shows that bad policy ideas aren’t limited to the far right. If adopted, these policies would return us to a time when how much students learned hardly mattered (that is, to anybody but them).

Read more

Actions

The Education Trust’s Letter to U.S. Senators on passage of the Every Child Achieves Act

Dear Members of the U.S. Senate:
Today’s Senate vote on the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) marks a long-overdue milestone in the effort to update the nation’s main K-12 education law, and we applaud Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray for their bipartisan leadership.
There’s a lot to like in this bill, but it falls far short when it comes to ensuring action on behalf of students
who are struggling academically. This is a glaring omission that must be addressed in Conference if this
bill—which is, at its core, about supporting underserved students—is to be signed into law.
The ECAA includes important building blocks for raising achievement among all students and closing the
gaps that separate low-income students, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities from their peers, including:
  • state standards aligned with the demands of college and career;
  • annual statewide assessments to provide objective, comparable data on how all students are performing;
  • rich public reporting on student outcomes and opportunities to learn, including per-pupil expenditures, access to rigorous coursework, and measures of school climate, including chronic absenteeism and exclusionary discipline; and,
  • attention to, and a commitment to addressing inequities in access to ineffective, out-of-field, and inexperienced teachers.
But even with all of this, without meaningful accountability the bill will do more to publicize gaps in achievement and opportunity for low-income students and students of color than it will to fix them.
Thankfully, the vote on Amendment 2241 shows there is strong—and bipartisan—support for improved accountability. This, combined with support from House Democrats and the Administration in its Statement of Administration Priorities, makes the task ahead in Conference clear.
We look forward to working with lawmakers and our partners in the business, civil rights, and disability communities to press for this important change that will make this next version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, like its predecessors, a strong federal commitment to all of the nation’s children. Without this critical change, we will oppose this bill being signed into law.

 

Joint Statement on the Senate’s Passage of the Every Child Achieves Act

July 16, 2015

Since HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander announced his plans to reauthorize ESEA at the beginning of this year, our organizations have worked together—across lines that often divide us on matters of public policy—to secure provisions in the law that we all think are vitally important to this nation’s future. Our common goals include:

  • Maintaining the annual assessments in grades 3-8 and once in high school that are so vital to understanding where our children are on their journey toward readiness for postsecondary education and careers;
  • Assuring broad transparency in public reporting of data on how all groups of students are progressing on assessments and other measures; and,
  • Statewide accountability systems that expect and support all students to graduate from high school ready for college and career, that broaden—albeit judiciously–the measures of student progress, and that require action where any group of students does not make progress against state-set goals.

Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray, the Every Child Achieves Act contains much of what we have worked for, including statewide annual assessments of all children, with strict limits on alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, and far more transparency around educational opportunities and results than ever before. And we are especially grateful that the Senate rebuffed efforts to weaken assessment participation requirements and honest public reporting.

But as good as the law is at shining a light on opportunity and achievement gaps, it falls woefully short in the more critical task of securing action for the students whose very futures are threatened by those gaps. To keep our nation moving forward, rather than back, that problem must be fixed.
As Members of Congress reauthorize federal education laws affecting low income students, students of color, English Learners and students with disabilities, their most sacred responsibility is to improve the law’s effectiveness in improving opportunities and outcomes for these students.
Without a clear expectation of action, Every Child Achieves does not yet meet that test.


The Every Child Achieves Act Falls Far Short

Dear Members of the U.S. Senate:

Today’s Senate vote on the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) marks a long-overdue milestone in the effort to update the nation’s main K-12 education law, and we applaud Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray for their bipartisan leadership.

There’s a lot to like in this bill, but it falls far short when it comes to ensuring action on behalf of students who are struggling academically. This is a glaring omission that must be addressed in Conference if this bill—which is, at its core, about supporting underserved students—is to be signed into law. The ECAA includes important building blocks for raising achievement among all students and closing the gaps that separate low-income students, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities from their peers, including:

  • state standards aligned with the demands of college and career;
  • annual statewide assessments to provide objective, comparable data on how all students are performing;
  • rich public reporting on student outcomes and opportunities to learn, including per-pupil expenditures, access to rigorous coursework, and measures of school climate, including chronic absenteeism and exclusionary discipline; and,
  • attention to, and a commitment to addressing inequities in access to ineffective, out-of-field, and inexperienced teachers.

But even with all of this, without meaningful accountability the bill will do more to publicize gaps in achievement and opportunity for low-income students and students of color than it will to fix them.

Thankfully, the vote on Amendment 2241 shows there is strong—and bipartisan—support for improved accountability. This, combined with support from House Democrats and the Administration in its Statement of Administration Priorities, makes the task ahead in Conference clear.

We look forward to working with lawmakers and our partners in the business, civil rights, and disability communities to press for this important change that will make this next version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, like its predecessors, a strong federal commitment to all of the nation’s children. Without this critical change, we will oppose this bill being signed into law.


The Education Trust Urges Senators to Vote Against Amendment 2162 to the Every Child Achieves Act, offered by Senator Lee of Utah

July 13, 2015

Dear Members of the U.S. Senate,

I write today to encourage you to vote against Amendment 2162 to the Every Child Achieves Act, offered by Senator Lee of Utah.

Amendment 2162 would require states to allow students to opt — or be opted — out of statewide assessments for any reason, effectively nullifying state policies on test participation. The Commonwealth of Kentucky, for example, has made it clear that students can opt out of the state’s public school system, but if they choose to attend public schools, they will participate in assessments. Amendment 2162 would undermine that decision and decisions like it across the country.

Moreover, with this amendment students who opt out would not be counted in the 95 percent participation rate requirement for a state’s accountability system, thereby undermining the expectation that schools are accountable for the academic progress of all students. Until federal law insisted that all children be included in statewide assessments, schools could and did mask disparities by excluding certain children — especially low-income students, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities — from tests. This amendment would take us back to that time.

Statewide standards, and the assessments based on them, serve as a check to ensure the vulnerable students who are the focus of federal law are not being subjected to lower expectations than their peers. These assessments help parents make informed decisions about their children’s education. They allow educators to benchmark their students’ performance. And they serve as a cornerstone for statewide accountability systems that expect and support all students to make progress toward college and career readiness.

We urge you to protect the integrity of state assessment and accountability systems by voting no on Amendment 2162.


Business, Civil Rights and Disability Communities Support Senate Amendment 2156 to the Every Child Achieves Act, Offered by Senators Capito and Durbin

Dear Members of the U.S. Senate:

As leaders of the nation’s business, civil rights and disability communities, we support Senate Amendment 2156 to the Every Child Achieves Act, offered by Senators Capito and Durbin.

Senate Amendment 2156 would ensure parents, educators and policymakers have access to publicly reported data on postsecondary enrollment and remediation rates for high school graduates, both overall and for categories of students. This information will provide valuable insights on whether K-12 schools are achieving their ultimate aim: preparing all students to succeed after high school.

Despite the growing importance of a college degree in today’s economy, many young people do not enroll in postsecondary education, and of those who do, far too many are not prepared for credit-bearing work. This problem is most acute among low-income students, students of color, English learners and students with disabilities — the very students who stand to gain the most from the economic and civic benefits of a college education.

Publicly reported data on postsecondary enrollment and remediation rates will enable educators and policymakers to: learn from schools and districts that are successfully preparing graduates for college and career; raise the performance of those that are inadequately serving students; and increase the number of young people who graduate from high school prepared for success in college and beyond.

We urge you to support student success by voting “YES” on Senate Amendment 2156.

Thank you in advance for your support.


Ensure All Our Children Receive a Quality Education: Act to Address Any Underachievement Problems Revealed by Achievement Data

Senators:

Under the leadership of Senators Alexander and Murray, the Senate HELP Committee has produced a positive framework for reauthorizing ESEA that will continue moving our country forward in the effort to ensure all our children receive a quality education.

The bill provides resources and considerable flexibility to the states and contains certain critical requirements we believe are essential to any broad improvement effort, including:

  • State-adopted standards aligned with the demands of postsecondary education and career;
  • Annual statewide assessment of all students in grades 3-8 and once again in high school, with a strictly limited exception for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities;
  • Transparent, accessible reporting of data — disaggregated by race, income, disability status and English proficiency — at the state, district and school levels, so educators, parents and students themselves have objective information on where they are on their journey to college and career readiness; and
  • Statewide accountability systems that include achievement and graduation-rate goals for all groups of students, rate schools in part on the academic performance of all groups of students, and provide dedicated funding for school improvement.

We are encouraged by the progress this bill represents, and thank Senators Alexander and Murray and their staffs — as well as the Committee as a whole — for their leadership in setting us on a productive, bipartisan path.


Strengthen the Accountability Provisions of the Every Child Achieves Act Through the Adoption of Four Key Amendments

Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, and Senators on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee:

Today, the Committee will take up the Every Child Achieves Act. There is much to like in the framework laid out by Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray, including transparency of student performance for policymakers and the public. However, the accountability sections of the bill concern us and can be improved through the adoption of four key amendments. Collectively these amendments would address a few major shortcomings in the bill and ensure a continued focus on the progress of low-income students and students of color.


Ensure That Title I Funds Serve Their Intended Purpose: Providing Additional Supports to Low-Income Students

Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, and Senators on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee:

Today, the Committee will take up the Every Child Achieves Act. The framework laid out by Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray includes powerful provisions for transparency by requiring public reporting of per-pupil expenditures of federal, state, and local funds — including actual staff salaries — for schools, districts, and states.

We write in support of an amendment by Senator Bennet that would build on this transparency by improving the comparability provisions of Title I.


Joint Letter From Civil Rights Organizations: Strengthen Accountability by Requiring That States Act on Underachievement Problems Revealed by Assessments

Members, Senate HELP Committee:

Senators Alexander and Murray have produced a positive framework for reauthorizing ESEA that will continue moving our country forward in the effort to ensure all our children receive a quality education.

The bill provides resources and considerable flexibility to the states, and contains certain critical requirements we believe are essential to any broad improvement effort, including:

  • State-adopted standards aligned with the demands of postsecondary education and career;
  • Annual statewide assessment of all students in grades 3-8 and once again in high school, with a strictly limited exception for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities;
  • Transparent, accessible reporting of data — disaggregated by race, income, disability status and English proficiency — at the state, district and school levels, so educators, parents and students themselves have objective information on where they are on their journey to college and career readiness; and
  • Statewide accountability systems that include achievement and graduation-rate goals for all groups of students, rate schools in part on the academic performance of all groups of students, and provide dedicated funding for school improvement.

We are encouraged by the progress this draft represents, and thank Senators Alexander and Murray and their staffs for their leadership in setting us on a productive, bipartisan path.


Joint Letter From Civil Rights Organizations: Ensure the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 Strengthens Accountability, Data-Gathering, and Resource Equity and Preserves a Federal Role

Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the 41 undersigned organizations, we write to express our views regarding the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. We are committed to a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that preserves the critical federal protections of that law and builds on the lessons of the past to ensure greater academic progress for all students.


 

Joint Letter from Civil Rights Organizations: Support Rep. Bobby Scott’s Substitute Amendment to H.R. 5: Protect the Needs of Students

Dear Representatives:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the 24 undersigned organizations, we urge you to support Ranking Member Scott’s Substitute Amendment to H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. The substitute maintains important federal protections for our nation’s students and is a much needed update to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The amendment replaces the outdated, rigid mandates of No Child Left Behind, and promotes local and state reforms while maintaining bedrock equity protections for all students.


Joint Letter from Civil Rights Organizations: Oppose H.R. 5: Protect the Needs of Students

Dear Representatives:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the 47 undersigned organizations, we urge you to oppose H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, introduced by Chairman Kline. H.R. 5 undermines important federal protection for our nation’s students, particularly children of color; children living in poverty; children with disabilities; homeless, foster, and migrant children; children in the juvenile justice system; children still learning English; and Native children. This bill is not a much needed update to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Rather, it is a rollback to a time when the needs of students in underserved communities were ignored.


Joint Letter from Business, Civil Rights, Disabilities and Education Advocates: Oppose Rep. Goodlatte’s Amendment to H.R. 5

Dear Members of the U.S. House of Representatives,

As leaders of the nation’s business, civil rights, and disabilities communities, we support the current requirement for statewide annual assessment in H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. However, we oppose amendment #74 to H.R. 5, offered by Representative Goodlatte of Virginia.


Student Success Act, H.R. 5 Falls Short in Protecting our Most Vulnerable Students

WASHINGTON (February 11, 2015) – Today, The Education Trust issued the following statement expressing our disappointment with the House Education Committee’s passing of Chairman John Kline’s “Student Success Act” or H.R. 5.

“Each previous iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, moved the country forward on correcting longstanding injustices in its educational systems. Unless it is significantly improved as it moves through Congress, the Student Success Act will turn back the clock.”


Likely Effects of Portability on Districts’ Title 1 Allocations

At the core of the federal Title I program is a bargain: a significant investment of federal dollars for disadvantaged students and a demand for significantly improved outcomes for those students in return. This brief focuses on the investment side. It examines the likely effect of the “portability” provisions currently under consideration as a part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We first explain current law and the proposed changes. Then we present data on the impact of these proposed changes across multiple states, focusing on how districts serving the highest concentrations of students in poverty would lose money at the expense of those districts serving the fewest.


Priorities for Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act


Prepared Testimony of Kati Haycock, The Education Trust for House Committee on Education and the Workforce Forum on Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) Reauthorization

Ranking Member Scott and other members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, thank you for the opportunity to address the importance of making sure all students matter in any reauthorization of ESEA that moves forward. In 2001, this committee put the finishing touches on a law that would go on to fundamentally reshape what it means to be a good school in America. Prior to that time, of course, schools could skate by on schoolwide averages, sweeping under the rug the large gaps in achievement among different groups of children. But you changed that when you declared that, in order to be a good school, you had to be good for every group of children that you served. All children had to be assessed and the results for all groups of children had to matter.


Comments to Senate HELP Committee on “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act” Discussion Draft

Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, and other members of the Senate HELP Committee:

Thank you for your efforts to jump-start the long overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. While current law has helped to prompt the fastest improvement since 1980 in the achievement of the very children who are the primary focus of federal education policy, the law has become outdated and, in some places, unworkable. We have learned a lot as a country in the 13 years since it was signed — lessons that should be reflected in a new, forward-looking law. While the Chairman’s discussion draft of the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act builds on some of those, we appreciate the opportunity to offer comments aimed at improving the draft to respond to other of those lessons.


“Congress, Keep the Backbone of ESEA Strong!”

Washington – Today, a coalition of leaders from the business, education, civil rights, and disability communities issued a joint letter calling on Congress to ensure that a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) includes:

  • Annual, statewide assessments of all students grades three to eight, and at least once in high school;
  • Public reporting of assessment results in a transparent and accessible way; and
  • Accountability systems that expect faster improvement for the groups of children who have been traditionally underserved, and prompt action when any group of students underperforms.

UPDATED: More Than 25 Civil Rights Groups and Education Advocates Release Principles for ESEA Reauthorization: “The Federal Role Must Be Honored and Maintained”

Washington – More than 20 civil rights groups and education advocates released shared civil rights principles for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The New York Times and Washington Post reported on the coalition’s insistence on annual, standardized testing as part of ESEA reauthorization. 

Resources

Amendment #2241 to the Every Child Achieves Act: Decidedly NOT AYP


Amendment #2241 to the Every Child Achieves Act


Trends in Achievement and Attainment Since We’ve Had Annual Testing, Transparency and Serious Accountability for All Groups of Students


Joint Letter from Civil Rights Organizations: Oppose H.R. 5: Protect the Needs of Students


Support Rep. Bobby Scott’s Substitute Amendment to H.R. 5: Protect the Needs of Students


Accountability for Closing Gaps and Raising Achievement


Joint Letter from Education, Business, Civil Rights and Disabilities Groups on ESEA Reauthorization


The Education Trust’s Priorities for Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act


A Better Approach to Accountability


Ed Trust Analysis: Likely Effects of Portability on Districts’ Title 1 Allocations


Prepared Testimony of Kati Haycock for U.S. House Forum on Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Reauthorization


Ed Trust Comments on Senate HELP Committee Draft ESEA Reauthorization Bill


Shared Civil Rights Principles for the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act


Testing 101 for Policymakers


Testing 101 for Parents


Five Problems With Grade-Span Testing


ESEA Ads for Advocates


ESEA Reauthorization Principles Infographic


Letter to Rep. Kline and Scott on U.S. House Reauthorization Efforts


Letter from District Superintendents to Senators Alexander and Murray, and Representatives Kline and Scott on ESEA Reauthorization Efforts 


Fast Fact: Want the Latest on ESEA Reauthorization?