This bill would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and rewrite the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education law passed with the last ESEA reauthorization. It would preserve what it deems, the "more successful" provisions of No Child Left Behind, while increasing state and local control of academic standards.
For context, NCLB came into effect in 2002, requiring states, school districts, and schools to ensure that all students were proficient in grade-level math and reading by 2014. Unfortunately, many states had trouble meeting their benchmarks on their way to attaining that goal, which led to 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Bureau of Indian Education, and eight California school districts to applying for waivers from NCLB.
States would be required to create accountability plans to prepare every students for reaching college or career readiness by the time they graduate high school. These plans allow each state to pick the best way to prepare students for these goals from kindergarten to senior year of high school. The accountability plans would have to meet minimum federal standards to ensure that all students and subgroups of students are included in the plan — but the federal government would be prohibited from choosing or approving state standards.
Standardized tests would still be used to measure success — including two reading and math tests annually for 3rd through 8th grades, and one in high school. Students would have to take a total of three science tests between 3rd and 12th grades. However, the federal government could no longer impose penalties on schools that perform poorly on those tests — instead allowing states to determine how to deal with test scores in their accountability systems.
In addition to test scores, accountability systems would be created using graduation rates, measures of college/workforce readiness, and English proficiency for English learners — among other state-chosen performance measures. States would get to set the weight of each measure in their system.
School districts would also require evidence-based interventions with state assistance for schools that are underperforming. The federal government would be barred from mandating, prescribing, or defining the specific steps school districts and states must take to improve schools.
States would be free to establish their own academic standards, and the federal government would be prohibited from mandating or incentivizing states to adopt or use any specific set of standards — including Common Core.
States would also be allowed — but not required — to develop and implement their own teacher evaluation systems. Schools would be able to use funds for induction programs for new teachers, ongoing professional development opportunities and new teacher recruitment.