Read the response letter to H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, written jointly with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) here.

Read the response letter to Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA), also written with NASSP, here.

*Update* The House Education and Workforce Committee approved H.R. 5 on a party-line vote of 23-16. The Democratic substitute amendment, offered by Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) failed with a vote of 16-23. There are now two Committee-passed ESEA reauthorization bills, one from the Senate Democrats, the other from House Republicans. The House legislation is expected to move to the floor sometime in July. While Senators from both parties want the Senate legislation moved to the Senate floor with an open amendment process, it’s uncertain if this will occur. 

If you think this all sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Just one week after the Senate Education Committee approved a bill to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the House Education and Workforce Committee is scheduled to debate on June 19th their own ESEA vision, which was recently introduced by Chairman John Kline (R-MN), known as the Student Success Act. Like the Senate ESEA legislation, the House bill was drafted on a partisan basis, and is expected to pass the Committee with only Republican support. Read a statement from Rep. Kline and find more details on the Student Success Act here. You can find the bill language here.

Below is a summary of the provisions included in the Student Success Act. Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) is expected to offer a Democratic alternative to H.R. 5, which is likely to fail on a party-line vote. Follow @NAESP on Twitter for updates during the House markup, and check the Principal’s Office Blog for further updates on any ESEA action in Congress.

Highlights of the Student Success Act, H.R. 5

Education Funding Provisions Included in Bill

  • Maintains post-sequestration funding levels for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) programs for the next six years, between Fiscal Years 2014 to 2019. Reverts to Fiscal Year 2012 funding levels for Title I programs, preventing Congress from increasing funding for ESEA programs until after the 2019-2020 school year, regardless of future efforts to reduce the impact of sequestration.
  • Removes all “Maintenance of Effort” (MOE) requirements, which compels states and school districts to maintain current education funding levels.  
  • Maintains the ESEA’s “supplement, not supplant” requirements, which ensure federal financial support is applied on top of state and local support.
  • The bill eliminates more than 70 existing ESEA programs.

Title I, Aid to Local Education Agencies

  • Eliminated Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirement that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014 and allows states to develop their own and accountability systems that include the following:
    • Annually measure the achievement of all students against the state standards in reading and math that includes growth models.
    • Evaluate school performance based on student achievement of all students and student subgroup achievement gaps.
    • School improvement systems that intervene in low performing Title I schools.
  • Maintains requirement for disaggregated student subgroups data, requires assessing English learners, and ensuring 95 percent participation rates for all students.  
  • Requires states to have math, reading and science content standards and administer science assessments that are not required to be tied to state accountability systems.
  • Requires school improvement interventions for Title I schools that are “low performing” based on state accountability structures and allows for districts to determine interventions for a given school.
  • Eliminates the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, which requires low-performing schools to implement prescribed school turnaround models, some require firing the principal as the initial step in implementation. Directs SIG funds to Title I.
  • Requires annual school report cards with disaggregated student achievement data.
  • Eliminates the 40 percent poverty threshold for Title I school-wide programs, allowing all Title I schools to operate whole school reform efforts.
  • While Title I funds must stay within that school, school districts can move additional federal funds to any Title I school.
  • Requires states to set aside 3 percent of Title I money to provide competitive grants to school districts that wish to offer tutoring or public school choice to their students, including those in poor performing schools.
  • The bill maintains separate funding streams for the Migrant Education, Neglected and Delinquent, English Language Acquisition, and Indian Education programs, which is currently Title III of ESEA, but merges them into Title I.

Title II, Teacher Preparation and Effectiveness

  • Although it is not required, LEAs may use Title II funds to provide job-embedded, evidence-based and continuous professional development for school leaders including mentorship programs. However, the included definition of professional development does not encompass core competencies of effective school leadership nor does it require professional development activities for principals.
  • An LEA can use Title II funds to develop and implement a school leader evaluation system, but it is not mentioned as an allowable State use of Title II funds.
  • For states already implementing teacher evaluation systems, LEAs may train school leaders on how to evaluate teachers.
  • Fifty percent of the Title II state allocation formula is based on state population, and the other 50 percent is based on state poverty rate. Currently, eighty percent of the formula is based on population while 20 percent is based on state poverty rate.
  • Limits no more than 10 percent of Title II funds to be spent on class size reduction efforts.
  • Creates a new Teacher and School Leader Flexibility Grant to support effective teachers and school leaders by reforming certification, licensing, and tenure systems. This grant aims to:
    • Expands alternative routes to certification that requires no classroom or clinical experience.
    • Support one-year teacher residency program, but no parallel program is included for principals.
    • Assist eligible entities with developing performance-based pay systems for school leaders.
    • Allow states to reserve up to 3 percent of their flexible grant to establish or expand teacher or school leader preparation academies, which usurp state authority on credentialing and licensure.
  • Repeals the requirement that teachers be deemed highly qualified.  Moves the parents’ right to know about teacher qualifications from Title I to Title II of the legislation.
  • While providing no framework for principal evaluations, teacher evaluation systems must:
    • Make student achievement data, derived from a variety of sources, a significant part of the evaluation.
    • Use multiple measures of evaluation.
    • Have more than two rating categories for the performance of teachers.
    • Make personnel decisions based on the evaluations, as determined by the district.
    • Seek input from parents, teachers, school leaders, and other staff in the school in developing the evaluation system.

Title III, Parental Engagement and Local Flexibility

  • Provides grants to help foster parental engagement in their children’s education, including statewide family engagement organizations.
  • Awards grants to nongovernmental entities that improve student academic achievement as long as there is an assurance that students who benefit will remain in a public school, “until graduation or transfer to another school.” Highlighted language creates some ambiguity of the intent of the law supporting vouchers to private schools, but it is expected to be removed from the final bill considered by the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Title V, General Provisions

  • Defines school leaders to include any employee of a local education agency or other entity operating a school, rather than to mean just a principal or assistant principal.
  • The bill limits the authority of the Secretary of Education by (1) prohibiting ESEA flexibility waivers in exchange for implementing state and local reforms; (2) prevents the secretary from creating any regulations related to standards, assessments, and state accountability systems; (3) prohibits the secretary from requiring states to partner with other states; and (4) clarifies that the identity of peer reviewers for grant applications must be publically released.