In the coming weeks, the House and Senate will vote on a major overhaul of the federal education law.
The final text of the Every Student Succeeds Act, designed to replace No Child Left Behind, was released Monday. If a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has its way, it will be headed for the president’s desk before the end of the year.
Next America summed up a few highlights of the full bill.
1. First, the basics. If passed, the law would reauthorize the nation’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act for four years instead of the standard five, which gives Congress the ability to change it during the next administration. The move to this law would take place from 2016 to 2017, meaning partially under the Obama administration and partially under the next president. Dozens of programs would be rolled into a single block grant and states have more flexibility with how they use funds.
2. Broadly, the bill marks a rollback of federal power. Washington wouldn't have a say in teacher evaluations, a big win for both Republicans and teachers’ unions, who have balked at the idea. While states would still be required to test students’ math and reading abilities each year between the third and eighth grades and once in high school, exactly what they do with the results would be up to them. And although states would still be required to administer tests to at least 95 percent of their students, the federal government would not be able to set consequences for schools that fall below that mark.