State and district officials would get broad leeway to shift federal dollars now aimed at particular populations to other programs, under a measure that the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved as it began a piecemeal effort to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
The measure, approved along party lines in the committee last month, would allow states and districts to take money out of an array of programs governed by the ESEA—including Title I grants for educating disadvantaged children—and direct the money to other purposes that they believed would do the most to improve student achievement.
Democrats say they worry the change would let districts and states ignore the students most at risk and undermine students’ civil rights.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, said his chamber has no timeline for reauthorizing the ESEA and doesn’t even have a public draft of the legislation.
A version of this article appeared in the August 10, 2011 edition of Education Week as House Panel OKs Funding Flexibility