Watch Out for the House NCLB Reauthorization Bill

Photo credit: UpstateNYer (CC-By-SA 3.0)
Photo credit: UpstateNYer (CC-By-SA 3.0)

EdWeek reported last week that House leadership could resurrect their No Child Left Behind reauthorization bill, the Student Success Act, as early as this week.

Months after Republican leaders in Congress yanked a GOP-backed Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization off the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives amid sinking support from their own caucus, they appear poised to call it up again.

As early as next week, according to sources, the Student Success Act could be brought to the floor under a new rule that allows members to vote on three new amendments in addition to final passage of the bill.

The momentum comes after a difficult three months of whipping the bill which began losing support from Republicans after the Club for Growth and Heritage Action—two powerful conservative lobby organizations—announced their opposition to it. The groups warned that if members voted in favor of the measure, it would count against them in a scoring rubric the organizations use to rate which members are most faithful to conservative principles of the GOP.

Among other things, the groups wanted to see provisions in the bill that would have pulled the federal government out of education entirely and would have allowed federal funds for low-income students to follow students to the school of their choice, including private schools.

Some members wanted to address those priorities by offering amendments like the proposed A-Plus Act, which lets states opt-out of accountability altogether, and others that deal with Title I portability. However, the rules committee, which decides how bills are debated on the House floor, did not allow members to offer such proposals when the bill was first debated back in February.

The Hill reports that Congressman Ryan Costello (R-PA) in a speech on the House floor last Wednesday called for the House to pick the bill back up and that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said it may return to the floor this month.

Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) took to the House floor to call for a vote on the measure.

“We need to continue our work on this bill,” Costello said. “We owe it to our colleagues who have worked for months on the bill and underlying policy.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) indicated in a memo that the measure may return to the floor this month, but didn’t specify a date.

The Student Success Act has numerous problems as we have reported before and it needs to be severely amended (better yet totally scrapped).  The Senate has their own version of a NCLB reauthorization called “Every Child Child Achieves Act” which Emmett McGroarty of American Principles Project and attorney and parent activist Lisa Hudson point out at is every bit as bad as the Student Success Act.

They state the Senate bill targets the Opt-Out movement.

It maintains the requirement that a state submit a comprehensive education plan. It keeps the testing requirements. A state must still have an “accountability system” that includes as a “substantial” factor student performance on standardized tests. It does try to lessen the teach-to-the-test pressures by allowing the state to determine “the weight” of the tests in the accountability system. But this will not alleviate such pressures. It’s like saying, “We’re going to beat you with a wooden bat, not a metal one.”

Moreover, under the NCLB reauthorization bill, each state must demonstrate that it will measure “the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students.” Unfortunately, to do so, states will likely increase pressure on administrators, teachers, principals, and parents for students to take the tests.


One thought on “Watch Out for the House NCLB Reauthorization Bill

  1. Shane- A small Anti-CCS group met a second time with US House Education and Workforce Committee Rep Matt Salmon of Arizona yesterday 6/19 to discuss HR5. We shed more light on FERPA, provided copy of S.1341 (Vitter Student Privacy Bill), high stakes testing, state longitudinal databases. Matt told us he has played a major impact in stalling HR5. He stated that John Kline as well as himself are strongly opposed to federal education. They will probably put everything they can into this bill and make the recommended amendments we proposed. After you read below, you’ll see that HR5 should get pushed back to October.

    The meeting went really well. I think we finally awakened Congressman Salmon’s eyes to the dangers of data mining and high stakes testing. I gave him a copy of S. 1341 (Student Privacy Act) which is Senator David Vitter’s Bill (VA)- “A bill to amend section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act in order to improve the privacy protections available to students and their parents, and for other purposes.” Congressman Salmon is going to investigate coming up-to-speed on this bill and doing a companion bill in the House and will get back to us in about a week on that. Here is a link to the bill:

    Salmon is going to add language to HR5 that will cover P-20 protections not just K-12. He is also working on an amendment to HR5 that will eliminate all federal testing requirements. I gave him all of Anita Hoge’s documents including Title 1 portability and we discussed why we did not want that for all schools which would just codify the feds control over everyone. He wanted this provision to give flexibility of funding so that funding could follow the child. I told him about the ESA accounts and how we have tried to have property taxes follow each child but how that has failed horribly every time it was brought up in the legislature. Salmon doesn’t think Obama would even pass HR5 but he is still going to push it forward.

    We talked about data mining being like the head of the monster, the high-stake testing is the tentacles and the Common Core standards is the tail. We spent a lot of time talking about SLDS, AZ Dash and how everyone- democrats, liberals, progressives, republicans, libertarians- do not want their children data mined! We talked about the threats from the ADE, local school districts, teachers, etc., on our children this year with AzMERIT testing in Arizona. He’s going to host an intergovernmental investigation hearing in Arizona in the fall where parents will be allowed to testify, under oath, on their experiences with AzMERIT testing and data mining! We also told him Tele-town halls to discuss “parental rights” around the same time would also be fantastic. We told him we are planning a Common Core Rally at the Capitol in October already so this would be the perfect to hold this intergovernmental hearing and these tele-town halls around the same time. Gina Ray gave him a copy of the new AzMERIT testing schedule for 2015-2016 school year which is just horrific as well! I mentioned to him that Senator Judy Burges, Rep. Jay Lawrence and Rep. Mark Finchem are working heavily on PII legislation and they should be invited to this hearing and tele-town halls. I did not bring up the PII Strategic Committee because I know Finchem does not want this made public yet and wants to do an official press release on this one.

    Former AZ State Senator Chuck Gray was also in the room and we thanked him for ARS 1-601 and 1-602 which was his legislation which defined “parental rights” in our Arizona Revised Statutes. We thanked him several times for this legislation and told him parents used these statutes this year in their local schools when opting out of AzMERIT. He was quite pleased to hear this.

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