The Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act, a bill that offers grants to schools for professional development in reading and literacy, is part of the Senate education committee chairman Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and ranking member Mike Enzi (R-WY)’s draft proposal to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, now called NCLB). The entire measure is scheduled to be part of a three day mark-up by the committee starting Tuesday, October 18. There are online resources where you can read a section by section analysis of the bill, a redline version showing changes to current law, and the full 860-page bill.
“A bipartisan bill will not have everything that everyone wants, but it must build on our common interests: high standards; flexibility for states, school districts and schools; and a more focused federal role that promotes equity, accountability and reform,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commented on October 11. “This bill is a very positive step toward a reauthorization that will provide our students and teachers with the support they need, and I salute Senators Harkin and Enzi for their good work and their bipartisan approach.”
ESEA was passed in 1965 as a part of the "War on Poverty." ESEA emphasizes equal access to education and establishes high standards and accountability. The law authorizes federally funded education programs that are administered by the states. In 2002, Congress amended ESEA and reauthorized it as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
In September 2011, the Obama administration outlined how states can get relief from provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). A year and a half earlier, in March 2010, the administration had released its blueprint for revising ESEA.
This blueprint builds on the significant reforms already made in response to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 around four areas: (1) Improving teacher and principal effectiveness; (2) Providing information to families to help them evaluate and improve their children's schools; (3) Implementing college- and career-ready standards; and (4) Improving student learning and achievement in America's lowest-performing schools by providing intensive support and effective interventions.
States can request flexibility from specific NCLB mandates that are stifling reform, but only if they are transitioning students, teachers, and schools to a system aligned with college- and career-ready standards for all students, developing differentiated accountability systems, and undertaking reforms to support effective classroom instruction and school leadership.
"To help states, districts and schools that are ready to move forward with education reform, our administration will provide flexibility from the law in exchange for a real commitment to undertake change. The purpose is not to give states and districts a reprieve from accountability, but rather to unleash energy to improve our schools at the local level," President Obama said in September.
This topic will be part of the International Reading Association (IRA) Government Relations Department Virtual Legislative Workshop on October 20 and 21
International Reading Association (IRA) Position Statements