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.
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.
A version of this article appeared in the June 20, 2001 edition of Education Week as Comparing the Education Bills