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While all eyes were on the Senate hearings about the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, the House of Representatives was putting the final touches on its own bill.
Alyson Klein of Education Week here describes the House legislation. Testing, i.e., the status quo, would remain unchanged. Clearly, the Republican leadership has not heard the outcry of parents who are enraged by the excessive testing forced on their children by federal mandates such as they intend to preserve.
On testing: The bill would keep the NCLB law’s testing schedule in place, requiring states to assess students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school in reading and math. And, just like under current law, science assessments would be required in three different grade spans. Unlike under Alexander’s bill, there’s no first and second option here for discussion. This isn’t a surprise, since both Kline, and Rep. John Boehner, the speaker of the House, want to keep the testing schedule in place.
On Common Core, the bill would prohibit the Secretary of Education from compelling states to adopt it and would leave states free to draft their own standards.
On Title I portability: Just as in Alexander’s bill, states would be allowed to use Title I funds in public school choice programs, by allowing Title I dollars to “follow the child.” This is not likely to make education organizations—which might otherwise embrace a smaller federal footprint—very happy. But it’s unclear just how much of a dealbreaker it is. Advocates for districts, including AASA, the School Superintendents Association, and the National School Boards Association continued to support the bill back in 2013, even after the portability provision was included. (We don’t know yet if that will be the case this time around, however.)
Portability no doubt would spur the expansion of charter schools, further destabilizing public schools.