On Nov. 19, the United States House-Senate conference committee reached agreement on a proposal to improve K-12 education and replace No Child Left Behind. The agreement represents a compromise between the House-passed Student Success Act (H.R. 5) and the Senate-passed Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (S. 1177).
Leaders of the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee and U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee agreed to a proposal to settle differences between the House's Student Success Act and the Senate's Every Child Achieves Act.
Among other provisions, the framework for the pending Every Student Succeeds Act, which would replace the controversial No Child Left Behind Act, proposes the following:
- Replacing the federal accountability measure of adequate yearly progress with state-designed systems that can include indicators beyond test scores, including "student engagement, access to and completion of advanced coursework, and school climate and safety." States would be required to intervene in the lowest 5 percent of schools by performance, as well as in schools with low graduation rates or in which any subgroup is "consistently underperforming."
- Requires statewide testing of math and reading in grades three through eight and once in high school, as well as testing in sciences three times between grades three and 12. The bill allows a pilot program for testing flexibility, and also allows states to use federal funds to conduct audits to eliminate assessments that aren't useful to student learning.
- Lets states set reading and math standards aligned to higher education "without interference from Washington," and says the federal government can't "mandate or incentivize" adoption of particular standards, including the Common Core.
- Caps at 1 percent the proportion of students with significant cognitive disabilities who can take alternative assessments.
A longer summary of the framework is available at http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/joint_esea_conference_framework_short_summary.pdf