The ESEA conferees approved the framework with few amendments on Thursday by a vote of 39 – 1. The only dissenting vote by proxy in the conference to agree to the compromise bill came from Senator Rand Paul. A summary of the framework approved by the conference committee can be found here.
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). The framework now has to be turned into a final bill for House and Senate members to review and vote on.
The conference report is expected to be filed on November 30 with both the House and Senate votes likely in the beginning of December. The goal is for final passage by the end of December 2015.
A highlight of provisions that were maintained, rejected or added of interest to special educators include:
- Repeals adequate yearly progress and replaces it with a statewide accountability system.
- Maintains annual, statewide assessments in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school, as well as science tests given three times between grades 3 and 12.
- Affirms state control of standards.
- Helps states to improve low performing schools (bottom 5% of schools).
- Maintains with some modifications provisions for a cap of 1% of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who can take the alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards.
- Maintains annual reporting of data disaggregated by subgroups of children including students with disabilities.
- Maintains the provision for 95 participation in statewide assessments.
- Maintains maintenance of effort and supplement not supplant, with additional flexibility.
- Authorizes the Preschool Development Grants program.
- Maintain the Javits Grant Program.
- Adds accountability provisions from the Talent Act for gifted and talented students.
- Rejects “portability” requirements.
- Rejects vouchers.
- Eliminates highly qualified.
- Eliminates federally mandated teacher evaluation system.
CEC will be summarizing key provisions of the conference report in December and the final bill upon passage.