House consideration of H.R. 5, the bill to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) ended on February 27 amid chaos around funding for the Department of Homeland Security and seemingly after reports that two conservative organizations, the Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation, opposed the legislation because it did not go far enough to erase the federal government’s role in education.
As reported in earlier NSTA Legislative Updates, H.R.5 is the partisan Republican bill to rewrite the federal education law that would eliminate most federal education programs and allow states to determine funding priorities and how to help low income schools. The law also greatly restricts the powers of the Secretary of Education and allows portability for Title I funds. The bill was previously introduced by House Republicans and received no Democratic support. Chairman John Kline has said he would like the bill back on the House floor the week of March 16. The White House has issued a veto threat for the bill.
The House bill did pass the McKinley Workforce Critical Subjects amendment to H.R. 5 with support from both parties. This amendment was supported by NSTA and the STEM Education Coalition (although both groups do not support H.R. 5). Rep. David McKinley’s remarks can be found on Youtube– Part 1 Part 2.
In the Senate, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate HELP Committee, and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking Democrat on Senate HELP, are still working on big issues such as accountability and assessment in their efforts to craft a bipartisan draft for ESEA/No Child Left Behind reauthorization. Senator Alexander has indicated he would like to see a vote on an ESEA bill by April.
Here are two articles on the current situation.
- House Vote On ESEA Postponed To This Week (The National Law Review)
- Can an NCLB Rewrite Still Happen This Year? (Education Week)
Stay tuned and look for upcoming issues of NSTA Express for the latest information on developments in Washington, DC.
Jodi Peterson is Assistant Executive Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Chair of the STEM Education Coalition. e-mail Jodi at email@example.com; follower her on Twitter at @stemedadvocate.
The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.