The first in a series of bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) passed the House Education and the Workforce Committee yesterday by a party line vote of 23-16. The Republican bill, HR 1891 New Priorities in Education Spending Act, seeks to eliminate 43 education programs in order to eliminate “ineffective” and “duplicative” programs and reduce the role of the federal government in education.

During consideration of the measure, several amendments were offered to reinstate specific programs or allowable “use of funds” and services currently provided by the programs targeted for elimination. Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA) moved to strike the repeal of the Parent Information and Resource Centers (PIRC) program and reinstate the William F. Goodling Even Start Family Literacy Program. In addition to Platts, two other Republicans, Reps. Judy Biggert (IL) and Glenn Thompson (PA), voted for the amendment to protect the PIRC program.

However, the amendment to preserve the Even Start Family Literacy Program as well as five other amendments were all rejected by party line votes. The amendments shot down by the Republican majority addressed issues such as comprehensive literacy programs, arts education and various curricula functions to prevent “narrowing of the curriculum,” counseling and other support services, dropout prevention, advanced teacher credentialing and principal leadership support, and Native Hawaiian/Alaska native programs. Read more about NAESP’s position on the bill.

Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, made several comments on the House process to reauthorize ESEA. Kline again reiterated the committee will not deal with the reauthorization of ESEA as a whole, but introduce a series of bills related to transferability, education innovation, choice, teachers and leaders, and accountability. The transferability or “flexibility” proposal would permit local districts to transfer up to 100 percent of funds among various titles and programs in the ESEA (including into and out of Title I). In addition, Title I funds may be transferred into Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs. It is our understanding that the proposed bill would maintain current law set-asides, accountability and reporting requirements, but specific bill language on the proposal has not yet been released.

In the meantime, please provide any feedback regarding the concept of “flexibility” to transfer funds in ESEA and IDEA to our team at advocacy@naesp.org.

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