Katrina Bill Would Ease School Rules

By Michelle R. Davis — November 29, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

While school districts still haven’t received any federal education aid from Congress to deal with the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the House has passed a measure that could ease education rules for Gulf Coast schools and others that have enrolled students displaced by the storms.

The Hurricane Regulatory Relief Act of 2005, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-La., passed the House on a voice vote Nov. 16.

The wide-ranging measure would allow displaced teachers who had already achieved “highly qualified” status in their states to get the same designation, for one year, in the states to which they moved following the storms. Such status is required for most teachers under the No Child Left Behind Act as of this school year.

The bill also would provide more time for districts to meet certain requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, including for testing and evaluating students in special education and reporting data on them.

The bill would instruct the federal Department of Education to do additional outreach to college and university students to see if new financial status after the hurricane qualified them for Pell Grants.

For Head Start, the federal program for disadvantaged preschoolers, the bill would require additional technical help for programs in the Gulf Coast region and would waive income documentation for parents enrolling their children.

Schools ‘Still Waiting’

On the House floor, Rep. Jindal said his proposal provides “common sense” measures to help ease life for people forced from home by the hurricanes, which struck in August and September, and said federal procedures were slowing the recovery process.

“Entire communities have been uprooted by these unprecedented natural disasters, and we must work to ensure that bureaucratic red tape does not hamper efforts to restore the region,” he said on Nov. 16.

The bill provides no money for the Gulf Coast, and it still must be passed by the Senate. Still, House Democrats praised it, saying it would ease hurricane victims’ recovery efforts.

“This new flexibility will help them begin the long and arduous task of recovery,” Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., said on the House floor. But he took Republican leaders to task, saying federal funding was what was really needed.

“Instead,” he said, “over two months now since the storms, these school systems are still waiting.”


Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Families & the Community Webinar
How Whole-Child Student Data Can Strengthen Family Connections
Learn how district leaders can use these actionable strategies to increase family engagement in their student’s education and boost their academic achievement.
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
The School to Workforce Gap: How Are Schools Setting Students Up For Life & Lifestyle Success?
Hear from education and business leaders on how schools are preparing students for their leap into the workforce.
Content provided by Find Your Grind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal What the Federal 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Actually Says
The bill would restrict federal funds for lessons on LGBTQ identities. The outcome of this week's election could revive its prospects.
4 min read
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol Museum in front of the Florida State Capitol on March 7, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida House Republicans advanced a bill, dubbed by opponents as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, to forbid discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, rejecting criticism from Democrats who said the proposal demonizes LGBTQ people.
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol Museum in Tallahassee on March 7, 2022. Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law was a model for a federal bill introduced last month.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal Fed's Education Research Board Is Back. Here's Why That Matters
Defunct for years, the National Board for Education Sciences has new members and new priorities.
2 min read
Image of a conference table.
Federal Opinion NAEP Needs to Be Kept at Arm’s Length From Politics
It’s in all our interests to ensure NAEP releases are buffered from political considerations and walled off from political appointees.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Feds Emphasize Legal Protections for Pregnant or Recently Pregnant Students, Employees
The U.S. Department of Education has released a new resource summary related to pregnancy discrimination in schools.
2 min read
Young girl checking her pregnancy test, sitting on beige couch at home.
iStock/Getty Images Plus