America Forward: Top Five ESEA Highlights

Last Thursday, April 16th, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the Every Child Achieves Act, a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Every Child Achieves Act represents an important step forward toward a strong, bipartisan ESEA reauthorization. Here are our five biggest highlights from the Senate’s bill:

  • Pay-for-Success: The Senate bill makes Pay for Success approaches an option for schools serving youth who are neglected, delinquent or at-risk as well as for programs addressing student health and safety.  Opening up ESEA to Pay For Success initiatives will help schools and their partners leverage data and evidence to get better results, measurably improve student outcomes, and maximize the impact of federal resources.
  • Focus on What Works:  The bill strengthens the use of evidence-based strategies, practices and programs to lead to better student outcomes.
  • Promoting Innovation:  The bill supports innovative, evidence-based initiatives to allow schools, districts, non-profits, institutions of higher education, and small businesses to develop and grow innovative programs to improve student achievement.
  • Competency-Based Learning:  The bill gives states flexibility to pilot innovative new ways of testing students that focus on mastery rather than time spent in classrooms, a key step towards personalizing learning for every student.
  • Multiple Measures of Success:  The bill moves away from No Child Left Behind’s focus on federal prescriptions for education challenges, and opens the door for new measures of school success and for innovation to help schools improve.

There is still much room for improvement to create a bill that supports innovation, empowers high-quality external partnerships, promotes the use of data, maintains accountability, supports learner-centered systems, and investing in what works for students. The America Forward team will be working with Congress to continue to strengthen the bill as it proceeds forward.

To see our coverage of the last weeks ESEA events check out the following links:


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