Senate ESEA Amendment “Voice Vote” Update for July 15, 2015
As the Senate debate on its version of the ESEA reauthorization, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, neared its end, there was a sort of “sudden death” round as more amendments were dealt with quickly and in the form of voice votes.
There were 21 of these voice votes on July 15, 2015.
There were also two amendments withdrawn, one of which was Senator Warren’s “disaggregated data” amendment. A quick word on that:
Senator Warren’s (D-MA) amendment 2120, “to amend section 1111(d) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 regarding the cross-tabulation of student data,” was withdrawn on July 15,2015, even as a beefier amendment, Senator Murphy’s (D-CT) amendment 2241 (which Warren co-sponsored) went up for a vote and was rejected 43-54. The 12-page text of Murphy’s SA 2241 reads more like No Child Left Behind (NCLB), with its detailed prescription for reporting on student test results, for “meaningfully differentiating among all public schools” (i.e., grading schools), including publicly identifying the lowest five percent, and, among interventions, potentially firing staff and offering students the option to transfer to other schools and using part of the budget to pay for the transportation.
One of the overriding themes for this Senate ESEA draft is to release more control to states than was afforded by NCLB and its spinoff, the NCLB waivers. So, if states want to follow the likes of Murphy’s amendment 2241, they must decide to do so on their own.
Back to the Senate ESEA voice votes:
Below is information on the 21 Senate ESEA amendments that were approved “by unanimous consent” on July 15, 2015:
Senator McCain’s (R-AZ) amendment 2111, “to express the sense of Congress that John Arthur “Jack” Johnson should receive a posthumous pardon for the racially-motivated conviction in 1913 that diminished the athletic, cultural, and historical significance of Jack Johnson and unduly tarnished his reputation.”
Senator Bennet’s (DD-CO) amendment 2141, “to provide for shared services strategies and models,” a brief amendment that appears to allow for shared services related to grants for early childhood learning and care. (The referenced page numbers in these bills are often a bust to follow, so I am resorting to keyword searches.)
Senator Ayotte’s (R-NH) amendment 2145, “to allow States to use State activity funds provided under part A of title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 for certain evidence-based mental health awareness programs.”
Senator Udall’s (D-NM) amendment 2149, “to allow the Bureau of Indian Education to apply for certain competitive grants under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.”
Senator Feinstein’s (D-CA) amendment 2150, “to allow eligible entities to use funds provided under part A of title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 for bilingual paraprofessionals and linguistically responsive materials.”
Senator Carper’s (D-DE) amendment 2151, “to amend part A of title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve preparation programs and strengthen support for principals and other school leaders.”
Senator King’s (I-ME) amendment 2154, “to authorize the Institute of Education Sciences to conduct a study on student access to digital learning resources outside of the school day.”
Senator Thune’s (R-SD) amendment 2155, “to require a report on responses to Indian student suicides.”
Senator Flake’s (R-AZ) amendment 2157, “to reserve funds for an evaluation of early learning alignment and improve grants.”
Senator Booker’s (D-NJ) amendment 2170, “to amend the early learning alignment and improvement grant program under part I of title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure that States support early childhood education programs that maintain disciplinary policies that do not include expulsion or suspension of participating children.”
Senator Coons’ (D-DE) amendment 2178, “to encourage increasing the amount of funds available for parent and family engagement.”
Senator McCain’s (R-AZ) amendment 2181, “to allow States to use funding under part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to replicate and expand successful practices from high-performing public schools.”
Senator Whitehouse’s (D-RI) amendment 2185, “to support innovation schools.” (You can read the text of this one here: SA 2185. Forgive me if I am not so enthused about yet another “opportunity” for “flexibility” and “autonomy” in the name of “innovation.” I’m too well versed in charter school fraud.)
Senator Blunt’s (R-MO) amendment 2195, “to amend section 1113(c) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to allow local educational agencies to address the needs of children in schools served by schoolwide programs by providing school-based mental health programs.” This amendment involves only the addition of the term “school based mental health programs” after the term “counseling” related to the development of schoolwide program plans.
Senator Graham’s (R-SC) amendment 2199, “to include entrepreneurship as a local educational agency allowable use of funds under title II.” This amendment is a short one, adding only the phrase, “providing educator training to increase students’ entrepreneurship skills” under Title II, “High Quality Teachers, Principals, and Other School Leaders.”
Senator Alexander’s (R-TN) amendment 2201, “to provide that State assessments not evaluate or assess personal or family beliefs and attitudes, or publicly disclose personally identifiable information.”
Senator Gillibrand’s (D-NY) amendment 2216, “to require a report on cybersecurity education.”
Senator Booker’s (D-NJ) amendment 2224, “to assess and improve educator support and working conditions.” This was the amendment resulting from the BATs/AFT survey on teacher well being.
Senator Bennet’s (D-CO) amendment 2225, “to improve title I by including information about assessments in the categories of information that parents have a right to know about.” Text for this amendment can be found here: SA 2225 Included in the information that this amendment covers is the time students are to spend taking standardized tests.
Senator Cornyn’s (R-TX) amendment 2227, “to reauthorize the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999.” This amendment allows for schools that are garnering high test scores to have rules relaxed so that they might try “innovative” (there’s that word again) methods. However, if the test scores slip, no more relaxed requirements. Read the details here: SA 2227.
Senator Lee’s (R-UT) amendment 2234, “to establish a rule of construction regarding travel to and from school.” This brief amendment concerns the right of parents to allow their children to travel to school by bicycle, car, bus, or on foot, and the right of parents to determine modes of travel that are age-appropriate for their children.
As I was writing this post, the Senate passed its ESEA reauthorization. (For a great post on the issue, see Diane Ravitch’s take, posted July 16, 2015.) I will continue posting on the last of the amendment action on the Senate floor, right up to the final passage of the Senate ESEA version.