In the past few months our office has been hard at work on Capitol Hill representing Catholic schools in the hope of reauthorization of NCLB/ESEA. That representation has involved educating members and staffers on Capitol Hill about the value and importance of Catholic schools in our country, advocacy work with members of the CAPE private school world, and direct advocacy involving the local Catholic education community in partnership with diocesan superintendents, National Catholic Education Association, and State Catholic Conference Directors. We appreciate your response to our alerts and CE News. Keep us in your good prayers and know you are in our prayers as well.
God bless you,
Sister John Mary
Associate Director of Public Policy
ESEA Update: No Child Left Behind Rewrite Heads to Senate Floor
On Thursday, April 16th, the Senate HELP Committee unanimously passed a bipartisan bill to update the education law with a vote of 22-0. The bill is named the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (known as ECAA, but not to be confused with NCAA). ECAA was introduced by Committee Chair Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Minority Member Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). The bill seeks to strike a balance between opposing party priorities by scaling back federal oversight and giving states much more flexibility in developing their own accountability systems, while also laying out minimum federal protections states must meet in those systems and keeping in place annual testing mandates.
During the three-day Committee mark-up, 58 amendments were offered. Of those, 29 passed, 8 failed and 21 were offered but withdrawn. This development is an important step in moving ESEA Reauthorization forward in a way that benefits all students. Chairman Alexander is hopeful that the bill will be taken up by the full Senate before the Memorial Day recess. Consideration by the Senate will no doubt make for a lively debate with a number of amendments being considered.
For its part, the House is still considering its version of an ESEA rewrite in The Student Success Act (HR 5). You will remember that House leadership rescheduled action on HR 5 in early March. House Leadership is still working to bring the bill up in the coming weeks and with the Senate Committee's action, there is hope for renewed activity in the House on reauthorization. The next couple of months will be very interesting so stay tuned.