Also Pushes to Close Comparability Loophole, Improve Low-Performing Schools, Measure Student Growth
Washington, DC - Colorado Senator Michael Bennet today secured an amendment to a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that would help reduce the burden of data reporting requirements for local school districts. The amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act was approved by voice vote in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee today.
"We ask a lot out of local school districts when it comes to teaching our kids and preparing them for success in college and their future careers," Bennet said. "We need to reduce the burden felt by our districts and improve the process by which they report so they can focus on the most important thing - educating our kids. This amendment tells states to evaluate their data reporting systems and update them in order to minimize burden."
Bennet also discussed several other amendments he has filed to highlight areas of the bill that need improvement. He said he will continue to work with the committee to advance these priorities, including:
• Closing the comparability loophole - This amendment would ensure school districts are providing at least the same amount of resources to all its students. Under current law, districts exclude their largest expenditure when considering the comparability of state and local resources: the actual compensation for teachers, principals, and other personnel at each school. The Bennet amendment would ensure districts close the comparability loophole and that federal resources intended for high-need schools are reaching those students.
• Intervening in the lowest-performing schools - No Child Left Behind helped reveal schools that are persistently low-performing. While empowering states and school districts to address low-performing schools, this amendment would require states to at least identify the bottom five percent of low-performing schools and make necessary changes to improve achievement at these schools.
• Accurately measuring student growth - No Child Left Behind evaluated schools by comparing how one year's fourth grade students compared with the next year's fourth grade students. This meant that districts and schools were responding to the wrong question by attempting to make changes without understanding where change was needed, what needed to be changed, and whether those changes were working. This amendment, inspired by Colorado's "growth model" Bennet helped implement at Denver Public Schools, would improve state accountability systems by requiring schools to measure how much progress a student makes from one year to the next, comparing the student against him or herself.
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