ASCD logo VIEW MOBILE/WEB VERSION HERE   |  May 20, 2013
Capitol Connection
  
MAY 20, 2013
Top Story

House and Senate Panels Talk ESEA Renewal

Senate Education Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to move forward with Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization in early June, encouraging educators who had been wondering when and whether his committee would take action on the long-overdue update to the nation’s main federal education law. However, the effort is likely be a partisan affair without Republican support.

Beginning in January, Harkin regularly met with Senator Lamar Alexander (TN), the panel’s top Republican, to discuss specifics of the law. Unfortunately, their talks ground to a halt over the fundamental issue of student performance targets. Harkin would prefer to require states to set student achievement goals, as some states now do under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers. Alexander views such a requirement as too much federal intrusion.

Meanwhile, a recent hearing before the House education committee that was billed as a forum on federal education accountability turned into a discussion about the priorities for reauthorizing ESEA and revealed that the partisan divide that ruled House committee action last year continues to do so today. Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) promised that the committee would address the law’s rewrite “in the coming months,” possibly moving a bill to the House floor by the end of summer. The committee’s ranking Democrat, Representative George Miller (CA), also expressed some optimism, but questions from other committee members indicate that they will, once again, struggle with a range of opposing priorities, from equity to college and career readiness to parental choice.

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Common Core Pushback

Opposition to the Common Core State Standards has gained momentum in some states amid growing criticism from national education leaders.

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Got Proof? Get Millions

The U.S. Department of Education kicked off the Validation and Scale-Up grant competitions that are part of its $150 million 2013 Investing in Innovation program, which is designed to help school districts and nonprofit and school partnerships implement innovative ideas that improve student learning. Read on for information about the award amounts and the application process and deadlines. 

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Science Fair Inventions Wow President

"Let me just start by saying, in my official capacity as president: This stuff is really cool," quipped President Obama when he celebrated 100 student science fair winners in the third White House Science Fair. Learn more about the students' innovative creations and the Obama administration's initiatives in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

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Please note: Capitol Connection will be on hiatus next week because of the congressional recess and will return the week of June 3.

 

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Public Policy Director
David Griffith

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Melissa Mellor
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