Senate ESEA Reauthorization Makes Attempt at Career Readiness
June 7, 2013
Senate ESEA Reauthorization Makes Attempt at Career
Earlier this week, Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) of the Senate
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee released
his latest piece of legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind. This bill, the Strengthening America’s Schools Act (S. 1094), makes a better attempt to prepare students
to be college- and career-ready than other reauthorization proposals we have
seen in the past, but it still falls short of truly preparing our students to
be career ready.
Unlike in previous attempts, this bill would require states
to align their college- and career-ready academic content standards with
relevant state career and technical education standards and state performance
measures identified in the Perkins Act. Previous reauthorization bills only
required alignment to relevant state career and technical education standards.
Despite some positive changes though, the bill does not
place equal importance on career readiness as it does on college readiness. The
legislation does not ask schools to report on career ready measures such
industry-recognized credentials earned, technical skill assessments passed, or
other state developed measures. The bill also eliminates the Elementary and
Secondary School Counseling Program and consolidates the remaining counseling
services under the umbrella of mental health services.
ACTE and the National Association of State Directors of
Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) sent a letter to Chairman Harkin and other HELP committee members today to ask them to make this
reauthorization about real college- and career-ready students. The committee
plans to mark up this bill on Tuesday, June 11.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), ranking member for the HELP
a Republican reauthorization bill for ESEA yesterday. His bill, the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act, consolidates funding for ESEA into two
block grants that would give governors and local school boards control over how
to spend those dollars. The Republican bill is likely to be offered as a
substitute amendment to replace Chairman Harkin’s bill, but is not likely to
House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John
Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) released
their ESEA reauthorization bill yesterday as well. Their bill, the Student Success Act, combines three smaller bills passed by the committee in the
previous Congress, and would essentially consolidate all ESEA programs into a
single block grant to state governors. ACTE will be providing more information
on this bill next week after the Senate HELP committee markup.
The Strengthening America’s Schools Act is likely to pass
out of the HELP committee, but it remains unclear if it will be able to survive
a vote on the Senate floor.