Here are some of the notable differences and similarities between the still- evolving House and Senate bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Annual tests: Both bills require annual testing in grades 3-8 under Title I, but offer differing timetables for when subgroups—minority and poor students, for instance—must attain “proficiency.”
Flexibility: HR 1 allows local districts to transfer up to 50 percent of ESEA money to other ESEA programs. S 1 creates a pilot program that would allow some states and districts added flexibility in spending federal aid.
Special education: The Senate bill makes mandatory “full funding” for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and hikes the IDEA budget by $2.5 billion a year. The House will not consider any such amendments.
Vouchers and tutoring: Neither bill contains President Bush’s proposal to give students in persistently failing public schools educational vouchers that could be used at private schools. However, both bills contain a provision to allow parents to request public funding for private tutoring for their children.
A version of this article appeared in the May 23, 2001 edition of Education Week as Two Versions of ESEA