Progress on ESEA Reauthorization!
We appreciate that bipartisan progress has been made this week by the Senate HELP (Health Education Labor & Pension) committee on reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act. We were particularly pleased that the committee passed two bipartisan amendments that are crucial for maintaining and growing powerful education reforms - the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program (21CCLC) and a new evidence-based innovation fund (similar to the Obama Administration's Invest in Innovation grant program). The 21CCLC program provides students in low-income communities expanded learning opportunities and the bipartisan bill the Senate HELP committee is voting on gives all states and communities the flexibility to utilize the funds to expand learning time in school or create after school, before school, or summer programs.
We remain concerned about the bill's focus on reporting student achievement data without strong requirements that states intervene with evidence-based reforms to improve chronically low-performing schools. We hope to continue working with Congress to ensure that the bill will require effective improvement strategies and support district efforts to improve schools serving at-risk students.