U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has been named to the bipartisan congressional committee tasked with finalizing a legislative overhaul to “No Child Left Behind,” which has governed our nation’s education policies for the past 13 years.
Earlier this year, Sen. Franken helped craft an education reform measure that passed in the Senate Education Committee and later in the full Senate. That legislation included several key provisions written by Sen. Franken to help improve education in Minnesota and across the country. The House of Representatives also passed its own education reform legislation.
Now, the newly appointed conference committee will work out the final details of the agreement. “Students, teachers, and parents across the country have been waiting for a long time for us to fix this law, and I’m glad we were able to get a bipartisan reform effort passed in Congress earlier this year,” Sen. Franken said. “As a member of the Senate Education Committee, I was glad to get several key provisions included in a final agreement of the bill that will help improve education in Minnesota. And as a newly appointed member of the conference committee—which is made up of Senate and House members who will help hammer out the final details of the bill—I’m looking forward to getting this bill finished and passed into law.”
Sen. Franken wrote several provisions into the Senate-passed education bill, including:
- Mental Health in Schools. Sen. Franken’s mental health in schools provision enable schools to partner with community-based organizations to expand access to mental health services for students. These provisions also support training for school staff and volunteers to help them recognize the signs of behavioral health problems in students and refer them for appropriate services.
- Principal Training and Recruitment. This provision improves the preparation, placement, and retention of effective principals in high-need schools.
- Computer Adaptive Testing. Sen. Franken’s bipartisan computer adaptive testing amendment allows states to use computer adaptive tests that include questions within, as well as above and below, grade level. Such tests give teachers and school systems the ability to more accurately measure each student’s achievement level and determine student growth.
- Accelerated Learning. This bipartisan amendment seeks to raise student academic achievement and save students and families money through accelerated learning programs. That includes things like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment programs, and early college high schools that provide postsecondary-level instruction, examinations, or sequences of courses that are widely accepted for credit at institutions of higher education.
- STEM Education. This bipartisan amendment improves STEM education and teacher professional development. This program also helps raise the stature and status of the STEM teaching profession by supporting colleges and universities in their efforts to improve math and science teacher training.
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers. This bipartisan amendment renews a current program to create community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during after school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.
- School Counseling. Sen. Franken’s amendment allows school-employed counseling professionals, such as school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists, to work together to create and expand comprehensive school counseling programs. Counseling programs emphasize prevention and early intervention, engage families, and incorporate research-based approaches to promote students’ academic success.
- Native American Language Immersion. This bipartisan amendment creates a program for the purpose of supporting and developing schools and programs that provide Native Language Immersion opportunities for students at pre-K through postsecondary education levels.
- Education of Students in Foster Care. Sen. Franken’s bipartisan provision improves the educational stability of students in foster care by improving collaboration between child welfare agencies and state and local educational agencies. It allows children to remain in their school of origin if it is in their best interest, and makes sure that funding for school transportation is available for those children. A point of contact for education of foster children is appointed in the local educational agency when there is also a point of contact in the corresponding child welfare agency.View the news release.