AccountabilityAchievement & AssessmentStudent Opportunity Gaps

Federal Every Child Achieves Act Introduced

By April 11, 2015 No Comments

Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray last week introduced the Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate HELP Committee’s bipartisan, comprehensive proposal to reauthorize ESEA.

“In a nutshell, this bill is good. It takes the pendulum of federal overreach and prescription and swings it to state and local control,” said Noelle Ellerson of NREAC. “It reels back the federal hand print in standards, accountability and assessment, and restores a more proper balance in the relationship of federal, state and local government as it relates to education.” View the legislation.

 The markup of the bill starts Tuesday and could possibly continue through Thursday and Friday.

Funding Changes

  • Does NOT freeze funding for six years as the Alexander draft and the House bill did by setting the authorized funding levels at the current FY 15 appropriations levels.  The compromise simply authorizes all programs at “such sums”, thereby preserving the ability of future Congresses to increase funding for programs consistent with overall budget limitations. Obviously, future appropriations bills could of course also cut funding of programs.
  • It maintains Maintenance of Effort (MOE), though it is amended. If a LEA fails to meet the current MOE requirement (that either the combined fiscal effort per student or the aggregate expenditures of the LEA and the State with respect to the provision of free public education by the LEA for the preceding fiscal year was not less than 90 percent of the combined fiscal effort or aggregate expenditures for the second preceding fiscal year) one time, it is held harmless. It is impacted by the loss of federal funds only if it then fails to meet MOE “for 1 or more of the 5 immediately preceding fiscal years.”  One additional provision is added under which an LEA can request a MOE waiver from the Secretary: “a change in the organizational structure of the local educational agency’’.
  • It does NOT include Title I portability.

What’s Eliminated?

The following currently funded programs are eliminated (though in many cases those functions are made allowable uses under other programs in the bill). There may be amendments to restore some of these during the markup (I noted two that are likely):

  • Mathematics and science partnerships
  • 21st century community learning centers (though an amendment to restore it is expected during markup)
  • Elementary and secondary school counseling
  • Physical education program
  • Promise Neighborhoods
  • Investing in Innovation
  • Transition to teaching
  • School leadership
  • Advanced placement
  • Ready-to-learn television
  • Arts in education
  • Preschool Development Grants (though a Murray amendment to restore a version of it is expected during markup)
  • Full service community schools
  • Innovative approaches to literacy
  • Javits gifted and talented students education program

Striving Readers is replaced with a new Literacy Education For All, Results For The Nation program.

View these articles on the bill: