Children & Youth Action Network (CAN) Reports

David Bateman, chair of the Public Policy Committee for the Division for Learning Disabilities, provides brief reports forTeachingLD.org so that visitors can keep informed about important developments in policies affecting students with learning disabilities and their teachers. Here are the latest notes from David (as well as links to earlier posts).

April 13, 2015

Division for Learning Disabilities
Public Policy Update
April 12, 2015

Every Child Achieves Act of 2015

As you know, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is up for reauthorization. It came close to a vote in the House of Representatives, but was pulled at the last minute related to fears of Common Core being forced on states.

The House is expected to vote on the bill (H.R. 5) sometime in April. Rep. John Kline (R-MN) (ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce) wants to move this forward, but needs to appease the more conservative members of the House that:

  1. Common Core will not be forced on the states.
  2. ESEA will return more local control.

The Senate will have mark-up of the bill on Tuesday and Wednesday of the coming week. It is on a fast track, but not sure where it will go in melding with the House version. Below is a summary of the latest from the Senate.

  1. Additions or changes to the bill will possibly include:
  2. Push for Title I money to go to private schools.
  3. Push for more assistance to charter schools.
  4. More principal training.
  5. Push to retain highly qualified.
  6. Demand to use Title I to pay for social workers.
  7. Move to protect LGBT students from bullying.

Senate Version (Alexander/Murray Bill)

April 7, 2015

  1. New definition of core academic subjects:

    The term 'core academic subjects' means English, reading or language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, computer science, music, and physical education, and any other subject as determined by the state or local educational agency.
  2. Still only test in English/language arts, math, and science.
  3. Annual state testing for students remains as it is in current law with the addition of the authority for states to innovate and pilot new assessments.
  4. A state-level 1% cap on the use of the Alternate Assessment based on Alternate Achievement Standards.
  5. The bill ends the federal test-based accountability system of No Child Left Behind, restoring to states the responsibility for determining how to use federally required tests for accountability purposes
  6. States would determine their own goals for their statewide accountability systems, but they must include student growth and graduation; states could add additional measurements and determine how to weight the components.
  7. Rigorous academic standards must be adopted, however the federal government may not mandate or encourage any particular set of standards.
  8. Highly qualified eliminated.
  9. There will be an expansion of early childhood activities.
  10. No portability of Title I.
  11. Maintenance of effort is retained.
  12. States may intervene with low-performing schools; however there is no percentage of schools required to be targeted, nor can the federal government proscribe turn around strategies.
  13. Teacher leadership and support for a continuum of professional practice may be supported by Title II funds.
  14. The bill provides resources to states and school districts to implement activities to support teachers, principals, and other educators, including allowable uses of funds for high quality induction programs for new teachers, ongoing rigorous professional development opportunities for teachers, and programs to recruit new educators to the profession. The bill allows, but does not require, states to develop and implement teacher evaluation systems.

David Bateman
Public Policy Chair