E-Update for January 15, 2016

Highlights
On January 12, President Obama delivered his final State of the Union (SOTU) address. In the speech, he highlighted the work that the Administration has been doing to advance educational opportunity for Americans, and noted the continued work to be done. He highlighted the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), record graduation rates, and increased early childhood education funding. The President also noted initiatives that he will continue to push for moving forward, such as Pre-Kindergarten for all; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; and increasing college access and affordability. The full text of the President’s remarks can be accessed here.
On January 14, House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) signaled that he will not challenge the agreed upon FY2017 budget cap. He also emphasized that he hopes to bring the FY2017 budget resolution to the floor by early March, which would in turn accelerate the appropriations schedule for subcommittees. House Appropriations Labor/HHS Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) likewise signaled his interest in reaching a budget resolution early this year.
 
U.S Congress
HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander Announces 2016 […]

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E-Update for January 8, 2016

Highlights
While the House was in session, most of Washington was preparing for the President’s final State of the Union address next Tuesday. President Obama is expected to deliver remarks on the newly reauthorized education bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), in addition to STEM education, which many believe will also make an appearance in the address.
January 12, 2016
 
U.S Congress
Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell Advocate for Return to Regular Order on Appropriations Bills: In recent weeks, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have been advocating for a return to regular order on appropriations bills. This could mean that the House considers appropriations bills beginning in March, which is a faster timeline than in recent years.  Additionally, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) has said he is committed to writing and passing a budget bill by March.
Sen. Lankford Writes Letter on USED Bullying Guidance: Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) wrote a letter to Acting Secretary John King Jr. asking for an explanation of two U.S. Department of Education (USED) Office for Civil […]

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E-Update for December 18, 2015

Highlights
U.S. Department of Education (USED) Takes First Steps in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Implementation: USED initiated the rulemaking process by publishing a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register, seeking advice and recommendations for Title I regulations under ESSA. The Department also issued a Dear Colleague Letter to states to clarify some initial steps as states, school districts, and schools transition to the new law.
December 18, 2015
ESSA: Opportunities and Risks: On December 14, EducationCounsel Managing Partner Scott Palmer penned this LatestCounsel blog highlighting three opportunities and one risk he sees in ESSA. This is the first in a series of blogs from the EducationCounsel team unpacking ESSA and highlighting next steps for states and local school districts.  
December 14, 2015
House and Senate Approve Omnibus Appropriations Bill: The House and Senate have approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which will provide funding for the remainder of the fiscal year.  The House voted on two separate bills – the Omnibus and a Tax Extender package.  On December 17, the House approved the Tax Extender package by […]

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ESSA: Opportunities and Risks

Last week President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). As the President noted at the signing ceremony, ESSA represents an all-too-rare bipartisan effort after many years’ delay (what he called a “Christmas miracle”) and an affirmation of education as a continuing national priority.  At the same time, the President’s signature only begins the next phase of work in understanding, leveraging, and implementing the law. ESSA’s ultimate impact will depend greatly on what states, districts, and advocates make of it.

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E-Update for December 11, 2015

News

Every Student Succeeds Act Signed into Law: On December 10, the President signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace the No Child Left Behind Act. The law marks the first reauthorization of ESEA since 2002. During the bill signing, President Obama remarked on the bill’s movement away from a focus on standardized tests and the law’s focus on every student graduating prepared for college and career.

On December 9, the Senate passed ESSA by a vote of 85-12, with all no votes being cast by Republicans. On December 2, the House passed ESSA by a vote of 359-64, with all no votes also being cast by Republicans.
Read EducationCounsel’s summary analysis of ESSA here.

Congress Passes Short-Term CR: On December 10, Congress passed a short-term Continuing Resolution to extend funding for the federal government at current levels through Wednesday, December 16.  House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are continuing negotiations to resolve differences on outstanding policy riders that are being considered as part of an Omnibus […]

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President Obama signs Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

On December 10, 2015 the President signed the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). This document provides a brief summary based on our legal and policy judgment of some key provisions in the 1061-page ESSA bill based on our initial read. The precise meaning and impact of ESSA will continue to play out through regulations, guidance, and implementation over the coming months and years – presenting both opportunities and risks on the federal, state, and local levels for improving education systems and outcomes for all students in the nation.

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E-Update for December 4, 2015

 
News

On December 2 the House passed, by a bipartisan vote of 359-64, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). All “no” votes in the House were by Republicans.
The next step in the process is for the Senate to consider the bill on the floor – which is likely to occur on Tuesday of next week as cloture was filed on December 3. A vote on passage could also occur on Tuesday.
If the bill passes, Congress will send it to the President for his signature into law.  The President is expected to sign the bill, if passed.
On December 9, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for a second time in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. In “Fisher II,” the Court is being asked to examine whether the consideration of race in undergraduate admissions can be sustained under the Equal Protection Clause and the Court’s prior decisions. Hundreds of “friends of the court” have filed briefs, including a broad […]

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E-Update for November 20, 2015

News

The House and Senate will be in recess next week for Thanksgiving. We will not publish an e-update next week. The House and Senate will reconvene on November 30.
On November 18-19, the House and Senate convened a joint Conference Committee to resolve differences between H.R. 5, “The Student Success Act,” and S. 1177, “The Every Child Achieves Act,” as they seek to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Following debate on amendments, the Conference Committee approved the recommendations for the Conference Report by a vote of 38-1.  The nay vote came from Senator Paul (R-KY). Prior to a final vote on the compromise agreement, the Conference Committee debated a range of amendments, including notable amendments related to permissible State caps on testing (adopted) and a reduction in the overall authorization levels for the Conference Report (rejected).
On November 17, National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) released their report, conducted in partnership with EducationCounsel and Clowder Consulting, entitled, “The Right Trajectory: State Teachers of the Year Compare State Assessments.” The report describes findings from a study […]

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The Right Trajectory – State Teachers of the Year Compare Former and New State Assessments

This LatestCounsel post was written by Terri Taylor, Policy & Legal Advisor.
EducationCounsel has been supporting the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) to study what excellent teachers think about assessments, given the opportunity to perform a close, side-by-side analysis of the new and old tests. We were particularly interested in their thoughts about the quality and utility of the new assessments compared to the prior state tests. After all, teachers can be powerful champions for good assessment. As those closest to the process of preparing for and administering assessments, teachers have essential perspectives that parents, students, and other educators trust. Moreover, teachers can uniquely explain whether an assessment reflects good classroom practice and asks students to demonstrate what they know and can do.

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