Legislation
Congress Passes ESEA Reauthorization
Senators Murray and Alexander Broker a deal to Pass ESSA; Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Today the U.S. Senate voted 85-12 to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), completing Congressional reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  The bill passed despite complaints from conservative Republicans that it did not go far enough in shrinking the federal role in education, concerns from Democrats that it would weaken accountability for the achievement of disadvantaged students, and objections from some who said that the drafting process was not open to all lawmakers.  The legislation garnered a surprising amount of support in the House of Representatives last week, where it passed 359-64, far exceeding the 218 votes needed for passage and clearing the way for action in the Senate.
 
Overall, ESSA shifts much of the responsibility for setting standards and goals and carrying out interventions to States, eliminating federal-level requirements like Adequate Yearly Progress goals and the provision of Supplemental Educational Services to some students.  It also strictly limits the ability of the Secretary of Education to require or incentivize certain standards, assessments, or goals.  Much of the bill goes into effect in time for the 2016-17 school year, with new interventions expected to be rolled out in 2017-2018.
 
President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law before the end of the month.

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