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ESEA Reauthorization Update: Conference Committee Is Already a Done Deal

November 19, 2015

Well, the House and Senate conference committee met for 90 minutes on the morning of November 19, 2015, and they’re already done. The full text of what is now being called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is still not available to the public and will not be until November 30, 2015. However, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) idea of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and its federally-derived, punitive list of “interventions” ( which included firing faculty, turning school over to the state, or converting to a charter school) are out. Still, with ESSA, states are required to intervene (not sure how this “intervention”is qualified in the language of the bill) in the bottom five percent of schools (likely defined by test scores and/or graduation rates), in schools with high dropout rates (not sure of the definition of “high”), and in schools with some group of students consistently underperform (likely on standardized tests).

ESSA also retains language banning the federal government from mandating Common Core. ESSA also apparently includes funding for afterschool programs, STEM (science-technology-engineering-mathematics) education, and pre-K,

Here are details regarding the amendments that were approved in the lightening-round conference committee meeting:

  • an amendment by Rep. Thompson (R-PA) requiring the Institute of Education Sciences to study on the effectiveness of the four Title I funding formulas;
  • an amendment by Sen. Enzi (R-WY) requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a government-wide review of early childhood education and care program;
  • an amendment offered by Rep Bonamici (D-OR) allowing Title IV formula grants to fund the development of programs that integrate science, technology, engineering and math with other subjects, such as art;
  • an amendment offered by Sen. Bennet (D-CO) allowing states to set caps on the maximum amount of time students can spend on testing;
  • an amendment offered by Rep. Messer (R-IN), allowing Title II funds for teacher training and recruitment to be used for teacher training on the appropriate use of student data when using technology in classrooms;
  • an amendment offered by Rep. Wilson (D-FL) allowing school districts to use Title IV formula grants to establish or improve school dropout and re-entry programs, and
  • an amendment offered by Rep. Polis (D-CO) making dual enrollment programs an allowable use of ELL funds.

ESSA heads next to the full House for a vote on December 02 or 03, 2015.

(Note: The two primary sources for this post were Politico’s Morning Education for November 19, 2015, and information originating with a conference committee attendee and sent my way via email.)

lightening speed 2


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?, published on June 12, 2015.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.


  1. Get out the vaseline.

  2. John Plencner permalink

    Seems like the same problem that we had with NCLB. 100% meet the standard, impossible! Guaranteed failure of 5% of all schools, even if they are accredited. It would be hard to set an absolute standard (and politically dangerous). Lets just say that 1 school out of 20 will fail each year, no matter what. After all, that keeps the Department of Education in business.

  3. Jill Reifschneider permalink

    Thank you for the information. I cannot believe how this is moving without public knowledge. Or, I guess I can believe it, but I am still miffed.

  4. Reblogged this on patthaleblog and commented:
    New ESEA, now called ESSA, Every Student Succeeds Act. Deliberation time? 90 minutes.

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