In the years following the approval of No Child Left Behind (NCLB)—the name given to the last iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—Congress has been receiving a lot of feedback from teachers, parents and states voicing concern about federal control and over-testing. NCLB more than doubled the number of high-stakes tests in reading and math.
The ESEA is once again up for reauthorization, and the message seems to be getting through, at least in part. The bill on the table is the U.S. Senate’s “Every Student Achieves Bill,” a compromise proposal that is intended as a middle ground preserving accountability and allowing for some local control. Senators are getting ready to vote on this bill. It then would go to the House.
The measure still would require states to continue breaking down student-performance data by demographic subgroups to assess proficiency differences. It also preserves annual testing in reading and math for grades 3-8 (and once in high school). But it would allow states more flexibility in how to design their accountability systems and support struggling schools. For instance, states may decide whether and how to adhere to the Common Core.
The National Education Association is watching these developments. Find out more here.