Can't keep the three bills put out in Congress this week on the long-stalled reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act straight?
Here's your cheat sheet:
|Accountability||Maintains the NCLB law's testing schedule, and states that have federal waivers could stick with those plans. States that don't already have federal waivers would have to come up with a set of goals that take into account both overall student achievement and growth. States without waivers would have to submit an ambitious accountability plan to the U.S. secretary of education for approval.||States would essentially get to design their own accountability systems, with few parameters from the federal government. Schools would still have to test students in grades 3-8 and once in high school, and data would have to be disaggregated by subgroups.||States would essentially get to design their own accountability systems, with few parameters from the federal government. Schools would still have to test students in grades 3-8 and once in high school, and data would have to be disaggregated by subgroups.|
|Funding||The bill includes a "comparability" requirement, which means that districts would have to ensure that actual teachers' salaries are the same across Title I and non-Title I schools. Now, teachers in a district have to be on the same salary schedule, but the teachers at one school can get paid much more, collectively, than the teachers at another.||The bill would get rid of maintenance of effort, which requires districts to keep up their own spending at a certain level in order to tap federal funds. But it would keep in place "supplement not supplant," which prohibits federal dollars from taking the place of local funding.||The bill would get rid of maintenance of effort. It would merge programs aimed at migrant students, neglected and delinquent children, English-learners, rural students, and American Indian children into the biggest K-12 program, the Title I program for disadvantaged students. Districts could use the funds for any activity authorized under those programs. No money could be transferred out of Title I schools, but extra funds could go to other low-income schools.|
|Low-Performing Schools||The bill would keep in place the four improvement models created under the Obama administration's School Improvement Grant program. But it would add another option, "whole-school reform," which allows for using turnaround programs with a strong evidence base. And the bill would give slight flexibility to rural districts to change one aspect of whatever model they end up choosing. States could also come up with their own improvement models and submit them to the education secretary for approval. Schools that fail to make progress after an extended period would have to consider more dramatic interventions.||The bill would get rid of the School Improvement Grant program and would instead allow states and districts to intervene in the schools they choose.||The bill would get rid of the School Improvement Grant program and would instead allow states and districts to intervene in the schools they choose.|
|Standards||States would have to adopt standards that prepare students for post-secondary education and the workforce, but those standards would not necessarily have to be the same as the Common Core State Standards.||The bill calls for "challenging" standards that will prepare students for postsecondary education without remediation or the workforce. It would explicitly bar the secretary of education from doing anything to encourage states to adopt a particular set of standards.||The bill would explicitly bar the secretary of education from doing anything to encourage states to adopt a particular set of standards.|
|Teachers||In order to tap Title II dollars, districts and states would have to do teacher evaluations based in part on student outcomes, including achievement and growth. Other measures, such as educator observations, would also have to factor in. Districts and states would use this information to help teachers improve their practice and to ensure that good teachers are distributed throughout the district--but not necessarily for big personnel decisions, like salaries and firing.||The bill would encourage states and districts to use Title II dollars to create teacher-evaluation systems based in part on student outcomes, but it wouldn't be a requirement.||The bill would require school districts and/or states to craft teacher-evaluation systems based in part on student outcomes and use them in personnel decisions as defined by the district, including promotions and firing.|
Source: U.S. Congress
Check out these good reads:
•Want a super-smart wonktastic, but also totally readable recap of the Senate Democrats' ESEA bill? Anne Hyslop, a policy analyst at the New America Foundation, has got you covered. And so does the Quick and the Ed's Chad Aldeman. Meanwhile, Mike Petrilli of Flypaper fame does a good job of giving the center-right take on the bill.
•Speaking of the bills, if you've read this very detailed summary of Kline's legislation you might have noticed that the bill would require the U.S. Department of Education to make all peer reviewers (for things like waivers) public. Clearly someone on the Hill was reading this vintage Transparency Watch by my co-blogger, Michele McNeil.
•And one of the most key architects of the No Child Left Behind Act—former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings—is heading on back to Texas to become president of the George W. Bush Foundation. Eduwonk's Andy Rotherham has the goods, including an interview with Spellings where she reflects back on her experiences in D.C.—including what she'll miss least about Washington (the answer is gridlock, but not the kind you're probably thinking about.)
•Student loans and student loans some more. The Senate failed to pass a two-year extension of the current loan rate of 3.4 percent. That means we're back to square one, with less than a month before the rate jumps up to 6.8 percent. More here. Political issue, meaningful debate over college access, or both?