Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Update! As a House-Senate
conference committee works out differences between the House and Senate
versions of ESEA reauthorization, NEA continues to fight for the
resources essential for effective reform. Central to this fight is
funding for Title I and IDEA (special education). NEA advocates the
increases authorized in the Senate bill.
Title I - The Senate bill, S. 1, includes a provision to
fully fund Title I. The House bill, H.R. 1, does not include this
here to see how Title I funding to your state or Congressional
District would increase, and how many additional teachers could be
provided and additional children could be served under the Senate
version of ESEA.
IDEA - The Senate bill, but not the House bill, includes a
commitment to fund 40 percent of IDEA. Click here to see how IDEA
funding to your state or Congressional District would increase under
the Senate proposal.
BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION BILL
After weeks of
debate and scores of amendments, both the Senate and the House have
completed their versions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
(ESEA) -- H.R. 1 and S. 1.
What we passed today is not a Democratic bill or a Republican bill --
but an education bill," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (MA.). "This has
been truly a bipartisan effort, and it has produced a good result," said
Minority Leader Trent Lott (MS).
A House-Senate conference committee is now working to reconcile the
Here are the major highlights of and differences between the
- Help for Special Education and Disadvantaged
The Senate bill includes a commitment to fund 40
percent of IDEA (special
education) and full funding of Title I via graduated annual increases
to the program. The House bill does not contain extra funding for IDEA
or Title I.
- NO to Vouchers...But
Neither of the Senate or
House bills contains private school vouchers. The House bill does
contain a provision to use Title I funds for private tutoring where
public funding can be used toward private, commercial or religious
- Qualified Teachers vs. Crowded Classrooms
class size reduction program was combined with professional
development programs - essentially leading toward an either/or
proposition for states and local school districts.
- Accountability and Testing...
Both the Senate
and House bills require states to test all students every year between
the third through eighth grades and once in high school. Federal
assistance will be made available to states and local school districts
to develop and administer the tests. Under the current plan, the test
results would be used to measure success of an entire school.
...NEA CALLED TO HELP
Both bills contain accountability
measures with strict definitions for success based on "adequate yearly
progress." Schools that test well but have a small drop in performance
from one year to the next could be labeled as failing under the proposed
NEA has been asked to work with the White House and other groups to
find a workable measure so that strict testing and accountability
measures do not unfairly punish students or schools.
MORE ON TEACHER QUALITY
Both bills require teachers in
Title I schools to be certified by the state AND to have a degree in
their area of assignment. The House bill allows for teachers to
otherwise demonstrate competency through a written test. The Senate bill
allows for competency "through a statewide standard" that may be
different than a written test. Teachers in charter schools are exempt
from this requirement.
LEVEL OF COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC EDUCATION
The Senate Bill
raises the federal commitment to public education by $13 billion. The
House bill includes a $5.4 billion increase.
The House emphatically rejected attempts to add private-school
vouchers to the Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) Act
reauthorization bill, H.R. 1, and then passed the bill by a vote of
384-45. The House rejected by wide, bipartisan margins two proposals by
Congressman Armey of Texas to add private school vouchers to the bill.
amendment would have authorized private school choice for
students who 1) have attended low-performing schools for three years;
2) attend unsafe schools; or 3) have been victims of crimes; and also
private school choice as a local use of Innovative Education Grants.
The amendment failed: 155-273.
- A second Armey
amendment would have authorized up to five "school choice
demonstration projects." It also failed: 186 to 241.
Click on the links above to see how your member of Congress voted on
TALKING POINTS ON NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
PRIORITIES IN THE SENATE ESEA REAUTHORIZATION BILL
Ensuring all students the opportunity to excel requires quality
teachers, smaller classes, and modern schools. Educators call on the
Senate and the White House to craft an ESEA package that offers
meaningful investments for children and public education, and rejects
measures that would undermine real reform.
Provide real investments in public education,
Support for America's neediest schools. Under the
President's budget, Title I would fully serve only one-third of all
eligible children. The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by
Senators Collins of Maine and Dodd of Connecticut that expands Title I
assistance to all eligible low-income students.
Support for urgent school repairs. Too many schools face
urgent repair needs, such as crumbling roofs and unsafe electrical
systems. Senate negotiators should not abandon last year’s bipartisan
agreement to provide resources for urgent repairs.
Resources to help reduce class sizes. Studies have clearly
demonstrated the positive impact of class size reduction on teaching
and learning and Congress has supported class size reduction on a
bipartisan basis for the past three years. To date, 29,000 teachers
have been hired with federal class size funds, reducing class size for
1.6 million students.
Investments to ensure the highest quality teachers. Quality
teacher preparation, certification, rigorous testing for all new
teachers, and excellent in-service evaluations for current teachers
are critical to attract and retain the best teachers. Pencil and
paper tests, however, offer an ineffective and punitive means of
evaluating veteran teachers. Teachers in charter schools should be
held to the same quality standards as all teachers.
Reject measures that will undermine positive reform efforts,
Voucher or “portability” proposals that divert federal dollars
to private or religious schools. Such proposals shift scarce
resources away from public schools while eliminating accountability
for the use of federal funds.
Straight A’s block grants that eliminate targeting of federal
dollars to those most in need. Such proposals undermine
accountability for the use of federal funds while shifting
decisionmaking authority to governors and away from local schools.
Straight A’s block grants could also permit the use of federal funds
Charitable choice proposals that divert public funds to
religious organizations for the provision of education services.
Such measures could threaten employee and participant civil rights
protections while violating the separation of church and
Ask your Members of Congress to make these improvements to ESEA. Send
them the message that undermining Title I or allowing federal funds
to be spent for private schools will jeopardize the future of children
and public education.
Letters to the editor are a great way for educators to keep the folks
at home aware of the issues being debated in Washington D.C. We've
included a few sample
letters to the editor here. Use them for ideas or verbatim as you
make you voice heard for children and public education.
ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCTION
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is our government’s
single largest investment in elementary and secondary education. It
provides targeted resources to help ensure that disadvantaged students
have access to a quality public education.
ESEA was originally authorized in 1965 for five years and had been
reauthorized every five years since. It expired in the year 2000.
ESEA contains a number of education programs critical to children and
public education including:
- Title I (funding initiatives aimed to help disadvantaged
children meet high standards)
- The Eisenhower Professional Development Program
- Education Technology
- Class Size Reduction
- Safe and Drug Free Schools
- Bilingual Education
- Indian Education (Helping Native American students
achieve to high academic standards.)
- Charter Schools
ESEA targets resources to specific needs. Its objectives are
standards based. Its goals are to maximize student learning, to provide
for teacher development and to enhance school system capacity.
One of NEA's top priorities in reauthorization is to ensure ongoing
high quality professional development for teachers, paraeducators and
Reauthorizing ESEA would reaffirm Congress’ commitment to support
children and public education. But some proposals before Congress would
dismantle the current successful package and abandon the promise of
academic excellence and equal educational opportunity for every American
Tell Congress not to jeopardize the future of America’s children. Send
Congress the message to leave the programs contained in ESEA
For more information on the Congressional funding and reauthorization
process, go to NEA’s Guide to the Legislative
For answers to frequently asked questions about the federal budget
process, go to our Legislative
Process FAQ’s page.
Click here to read the transcript of NEA President Bob Chase’s Testimony on the
Title I program before the House Committee on Education and the
NEA is a member of the Committee for
Education Funding. Click here for more information on their efforts
to achieve adequate federal financial support for our nation’s