Still watching ESEA
Published June 2011 Voice
After strong indications last winter that Congress might address renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act this year, prospects for action are now uncertain.
However, PSEA and NEA continue to closely monitor the situation, and those members participating in the Government Relations Track during July’s Summer Leadership Conference in Gettysburg will take a day to travel to Washington, D.C., to lobby.
“ PERC, the PSEA ESEA Reauthorization Cadre, is already functioning at the region level, ready to go to work as the process begins in earnest,’’ said PSEA Treasurer Jerry Oleksiak, who is overseeing the ESEA issue.
PSEA and NEA remain concerned over various elements of the U.S. Education Department’s “blueprint’’ for ESEA renewal, specifically its heavy focus on competitive grants, and an overreliance on standardized testing as a measuring stick for both student achievement and teacher evaluation.
A group of Democrats, including Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, has unveiled an outline that closely mirrors the blueprint, but no bill has been introduced. Meanwhile, some Republicans reportedly are considering proposing a series of smaller ESEA-related bills.