Published Online:
Published in Print: June 20, 2001, as Comparing the Education Bills

Comparing the Education Bills

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

With Senate approval last week of its version of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—the House finished its bill in May—responsibility will now fall to a House-Senate conference committee to bridge the differences. Here are highlights of the two bills the committee will be considering.

The House Bill: HR 1 The Senate Bill: S 1
ESEA Authorization level for fiscal 2002: $23 billion

Testing: States, within three years, must design and begin giving annual reading and mathematics tests for all students in grades 3-8. To ensure rigor, states must use either the National Assessment of Educational Progress or some other national test, such as the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, to confirm progress on their own tests.

Accountability: States and districts must ensure that all students score at a state-defined "proficient" level within 12 years. Each state must set annual achievement targets for each subgroup of students—such as members of racial and ethnic minorities and students with limited English proficiency—to reach the 12 year goal. 

School improvement:
Failing schools that have not made "adequate yearly progress" for one year receive technical help and must develop two-year plans for improvement. Districts with such schools must offer public school choice. After two years of no progress, districts must take certain corrective actions, such as replacing certain staff members. Districts must still offer public school choice and must provide transportation for students exercising that option. After three years of failure, a school faces more aggressive intervention, such as "reconstitution," a state takeover, or conversion to a charter school. Public school choice, with transportation, continues. Also, parents may direct the failing school to pay for private tutoring using a portion of the school's federal money.

Reading:
Authorizes $900 million in fiscal 2002 to provide help to states and districts in establishing research-based reading programs for children in grades K-3. Creates an Early Reading First competitive-grant program to enhance reading readiness for children in high-poverty areas.

"Straight A's" demonstration:
Up to 100 school districts—but no states—may combine funds from several major ESEA programs in exchange for negotiating five-year performance agreements with the Department of Education.

Teacher Quality:
Merges the existing class-size-reduction and Eisenhower professional-development programs into a new, flexible grant program to improve teacher quality.

Bilingual education:
Consolidates several existing bilingual education programs into a new, flexible grant initiative distributed by a formula, rather than on a competitive basis. Eliminates the current requirement that 75 percent of federal aid be used to support programs using a child's native language for instruction. States must move children out of classes for limited-English-proficient students within three years.

Transferability:
Districts, with state approval, may transfer up to 50 percent of federal funding among a select group of large programs. Current law permits up to 5 percent. Money may not be removed from the Title I program, but may be transferred into it.
ESEA Authorization level for fiscal 2002:$33billion

Testing: States, within three years, must design and implement annual reading and mathematics tests for all students in grades 3-8. To ensure rigor, states must use the National Assessment of Educational Progress to confirm progress on their own tests.

Accountability:
States and districts must ensure that all students score at a state-defined "proficient" level within 10 years. Each state must devise a detailed system for determining "adequate yearly progress" that weighs whether each subgroup of students is making progress toward the 10-year goal and that gives extra weight to two groups: those that were furthest from the "proficient" level, and those that made the greatest improvement. Districts and schools are still identified as failing—even if they meet that formula—if each subgroup achieves less than a 1 percent gain toward the "proficient" level in reading and math annually.

School improvement:
Failing schools that have not made adequate progress after one year receive technical help. After the third year, a failing school must pay transportation costs to help students attend another public school, if the students choose. Also, parents may direct the school to pay for private tutoring using a portion of the school's federal money. At least one intervention by the district in the failing school is also required, such as reopening it as a charter school, replacing relevant staff members, or beginning a new curriculum. After five years, districts would be required in the case of such schools to take one of several actions, including reopening as a charter school, replacing all or most of its staff, or turning over its operations to another entity.

Reading:
Authorizes $900 million in fiscal 2002 to provide help to states and districts in establishing research-based reading programs for children in grades K-3. Creates an Early Reading First competitive-grant program to enhance reading readiness for children in high-poverty areas.

"Straight A's" demonstration:
Allows seven states and 25 districts to combine money from several major ESEA programs in exchange for negotiating five-year performance agreements with the Department of Education.

Teacher quality:
Merges the existing class-size-reduction and Eisenhower professional-development programs into a new, flexible grant program to improve teacher quality.

Special education:
Shifts funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act from the discretionary to the mandatory side of the federal budget. Aims to lock in up to $181 billion in aid over the next decade, a dramatic increase.

Bilingual education:
Consolidates current programs into a smaller set of flexible programs still distributed on a competitive basis.



Vol. 20, Issue 41, Page 34

Related Stories
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented