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Federal Teacher Legislation with Legs?

By Stephen Sawchuk — June 10, 2010 1 min read
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Yesterday’s post on the as-yet-unseen Bennet teacher bill got me thinking a bit about what other pieces of teacher legislation could be candidates for inclusion in a revised Elementary and Secondary Education Act draft. Here are a few proposals that might have legs.

• In what is, to my knowledge, the first actual bill to propose addressing the Title I comparability ‘loophole,’ Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., has introduced the ESEA Fiscal Fairness Act. One provision of note specifies that this change does not endorse or require the forced transfer of teachers, one of the concerns of teachers’ unions. This bill could still be a tough sell on the Hill, but a bunch of groups have lined up in favor of it.

• Three senators introduced a bill to overhaul professional-development spending in the ESEA. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., has a similar (though not identical) bill in the House. Read my earlier item for some analysis on the proposal.

• Rep. George Miller’s Teacher Excellence for All Children Act was the basis of the House education committee’s proposed Title II teacher-quality rewrite in 2007. He once referred to it as covering a “soup to nuts” approach to teacher quality. It doesn’t appear that Miller has reintroduced it this legislative session, but don’t count it out yet.

• Late in 2009, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced a bill authorizing $2 billion for districts to reduce class sizes and, surprise, it’s very similar to class-size language the National Education Association included in its own ESEA reauthorization proposal. The conventional wisdom has it that the halcyon days of federally subsidized class-size reduction are gone. But with a Democratic president in office and both chambers of Congress controlled by Democrats—for now—a class-size program might be an important bargaining chip with which to curry support from liberal Democrats and teachers’ union for an ESEA rewrite.

Now—am I missing anything crucial? Write in and tell us all.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.