Includes Bennet-Authored Provisions Secured during Committee, Floor Debate, Conference
Washington, DC - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined 84 of his colleagues today to give final approval to a bill to fix No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The bill, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the chief federal law addressing K-12 education, now heads to the president's desk to be signed into law. It reforms many of the broken policies from No Child Left Behind, the previous version of the bill, while maintaining several key provisions that have proved successful.
Bennet is a member of the Senate's education committee and the conference committee that negotiated the final bill. The final language includes a number of provisions he secured during the initial drafting, the committee process, the Senate's debate, and the conference committee's final negotiations.
"Congress has finally done its job to pass a bill that fixes No Child Left Behind," Bennet said. "This bill helps us end NCLB's top-down, one-size-fits-all approach and re-empowers those closest to our kids to make decisions about their education. This bipartisan bill makes meaningful progress to help our students, teachers, and schools across Colorado and the country, but it is just one step toward addressing the inequities in our education system. We must keep working to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a great education."
As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Bennet played a significant role in writing the Senate-passed bill. The final bill includes a number of provisions he secured based on input from Colorado, including:
State-Driven Accountability Systems: Reducing the prescriptive, top-down approach of No Child Left Behind; re-empowering states to design accountability systems that maintain statewide annual testing requirements and break down data to identify achievement gaps; ensuring English learners are included in state accountability systems; and requiring states to identify at least the bottom five percent of low-performing schools and make necessary changes to improve achievement at these schools
Improving Equity and Addressing Inequalities: Including provisions to promote equity, address inequities and help ensure high-need schools can attract and retain great teachers and leaders by improving their support systems; including a new reporting requirement to increase transparency on the resources schools receive and to identify inequities in funding; providing flexibility to spend federal funding on early childhood education and on dual and concurrent enrollment for high school students; and provisions encouraging teacher leadership, residency programs, and improvements to district human capital systems
Encouraging Innovation to Meet Challenges in Schools: Securing incentives for educators on the ground to apply their own creative thinking to address our most persistent education challenges; including funding for innovative practices to improve student achievement; revamping the Charter School Program; and allowing pay-for-success initiatives
Supporting Rural Schools: Securing a package of provisions to better support schools in rural communities; providing technical assistance to rural school districts when applying for competitive federal grants; and clarifying that rural school districts or education service agencies, like a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), can join together and submit a single consolidated application for funding under ESEA
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