Here are some of the highlights as ESEA has moved through the Senate over the last few months:
- Many Senators used the early part of this year to introduce bills to inform the conversation and set marks for what they wanted to see in the next ESEA bill. In March, Senator Casey (PA) and Senator Reed (RI) introduced the Better Educator Support and Training Act (BEST), which aims to improve the part of NCLB that supports professional development activities. The proposed bill would create a comprehensive continuum by strengthening entry into the profession, ensuring ongoing professional learning for all teachers and creating opportunities for teacher leadership.
- Just a few weeks later, the lead Democrat and Republican on the Senate Education Committee—Senator Alexander (TN) and Senator Murray (WA)—introduced the Every Child Achieves Act, a comprehensive bipartisan bill to reauthorize ESEA. This bill incorporates many of the components of Senator Casey’s BEST Act. The National Board and its partners in the Coalition for Teaching Quality (CTQ) were particularly pleased to see that the Every Child Achieves Act includes provisions to strengthen teacher and principal quality through improved preparation, performance assessment, residency programs, induction programs, and professional learning and growth and leadership opportunities. (See the National Board’s ESEA recommendations.)
- We’re also pleased that the bill builds on the successful Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) initiative by including provisions that could advance programs like the National Board’s Network to Transform Teaching.
- Last week, the Every Child Achieves Act passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously, by a vote of 22-0. This is a significant mark of progress. This is the third time the Senate has tried to reauthorize ESEA in the last several years, but this was the first attempt with broad bipartisan support. (See National Board’s letter on the bill)