House Committee Approves ESEA Re-authorization; White House Responds

Last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee voted along party lines (21-16) to advance the Student Success Act (HR 5) to reauthorize and replace No Child Left Behind. The measure would dramatically reduce the role of the federal government in elementary and secondary education. It would eliminate more than 65 separate federal funding programs, and replace them with one Local Academic Flexible Grant.  The bill would also replace the current national accountability system with state-led accountability plans, and prohibit the Department of Education from taking steps to require states to adopt the Common Core State Standards. The White House responded to the House Committee’s action by releasing a report opposing the bill, examining the state-by-state impact on Elementary and Secondary Education Act funding levels compared to the President’s budget recommendations, and projecting how funding would be redistributed across school districts under the House measure. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued a statement last Friday criticizing the White House’s report as biased and noting that the House bill would give states the option to restructure how Title I funds are distributed but would not require them to do so.

National High School Graduation Rate Reaches New High at 81 Percent

The Department of Education announced that students in the U.S. are graduating from high school at the highest rate since states adopted a new standardized method for calculating graduation rates five years ago. According to new data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the high school graduation rate reached 81 percent in 2012-2013. State-by-state data is available here. The Obama Administration also used this announcement to call for an overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education has released a report of interest: Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities