Senate ESEA Reauthorization Update for July 15, 2015
On July 15, 2015, the Senate voted by roll call on five amendments related to the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, the Senate’s version of the proposed reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.
The first roll call vote concerned cloture, which was proposed on July 13, 2015, and which might be thought of as a proposal to move from green light to yellow. Filing for cloture sets a deadline for filing new amendments. Motions for cloture are generally voted on two days following filing, after the Senate has been in session for one hour on that second day. On July 15, 2015, the vote for cloture regarding the Senate’s ESEA reauth was taken. A three-fifths majority is needed for cloture to pass. The final vote was 86-12.
The passage of the cloture motion means that consideration of amendments will also proceed more quickly.
Four additional amendments were voted on in roll call on July 15, 2015. All were rejected:
Senator Murphy’s (D-CT) amendment 2241, which at this time is only generally described as “to amend accountability provisions.” However, pro-testing organizations like Education Trust, Stand for Children, Teach for America, and Democrats for Education Reform supported it. Here is part of their promo:
States must be required to identify schools where all students or any group of students are not meeting goals and to intervene in ways that raise achievement for students not meeting state standards. We need accountability for schools where groups of students are not making progress, for the lowest performing schools, and for schools with very low graduation rates.
Amendment 2241 was rejected by a vote of 43-54, with 41 Democrats, one Republican, and Sanders (Independent) voting in favor; 51 Republicans, two Democrats (Tester and Shaheen), and King (Independent) voted against.
Senator Kirk’s (R-IL) amendment 2161, “to ensure that States measure and report on indicators of student access to critical educational resources and identify disparities in such resources, and for other purposes,” was rejected 46-50. Democrats and Sanders wanted it; only two Republicans voted in favor, and one of those was Kirk, the bill’s sponsor. Tester was the only Democrat to vote against it.
Senator Heitkamp’s (D-ND) amendment 2171, “to reinstate grants to improve the mental health of children,” was rejected 58-39 (it required three-fifths majority to pass). All who voted against were Republicans.
Finally, Senator Markey’s (D-MA) amendment 2176, “to establish a climate change education program,” was rejected 44-53. In connection with this amendment, I read today where Alexander commented that with this ESEA reauth, the idea is to lessen the federal role and increase state autonomy (I am paraphrasing).
As to Senate voice votes and other amendments presented on the floor on July 15, 2015, check this link on July 16, 2015, for the Senate summary. I believe one voice vote that led to passage is the BATs’ teacher amendment. I read the following on Facebook today, from Marla Kilfoyle:
BREAKING NEWS!!!!! The Amendment to secure teacher workplace conditions and student learning conditions based on BAT Workplace Team research with AFT research HAS PASSED…. If ESEA passes it will be law in this country to use Title 2 money to secure workplace conditions for teachers and our students.
Congratulations to the BATs on the payoff for their efforts on behalf of America’s teachers. 🙂
Enough for now. I’m going to go bake a bundt cake. No kidding.
Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.
She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, newly published on June 12, 2015.