Clinton ESEA Plan Targets Accountability

May 26, 1999 1 min read

A far-reaching plan unveiled by the Clinton administration last week would greatly expand the accountability demands on states and school districts that receive federal K-12 education dollars.

And, while aspects of the plan for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act are winning praise from some congressional Democrats and education groups, the stage is set for yet another battle with Republicans over the federal role in schools.

Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley unveils the Clinton administration plan for reauthorizing the main federal K-12 law last week. Among other goals, the proposal seeks to end social promotions.
--Benjamin Tice Smith

President Clinton’s ESEA proposal, which places special emphasis on taking tougher steps to help disadvantaged students, appears to mark a dramatic expansion of the federal government’s voice in education policy, some GOP lawmakers and conservative analysts argue. They say the plan, if adopted, would create an array of new administrative requirements.

But last week, acting Deputy Secretary of Education Marshall S. Smith trumpeted the proposal as a bold--and necessary--approach to addressing inequities in precollegiate education. “Our sense right now is that it’s time to step up the pressure, to step up the effort to provide serious equality--all in the context of also providing a high-quality education,” he said as the plan was unveiled at a May 19 news conference.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 26, 1999 edition of Education Week as Clinton ESEA Plan Targets Accountability