Is This the Year for ESEA?

March 18th, 2011

Category: News

I recently became very optimistic after reading this Ed Week blog, which makes it sound like Congress may actually move forward on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this year. (For a quick history on ESEA and its postponed reauthorization, see our November 2010 post-election write-up.)

Delaware is one year into implementation of its #1-ranked Race to the Top plan, with schools and students already feeling positive impacts. The Obama Administration’sproposal for ESEA reauthorization includes many important elements of Race to the Top, and we hope congressional leaders can work together – this year – to implement education reform plans that recognize and accelerate the work underway here and throughout the nation.

This reauthorization is a huge, daunting task for Congress – no wonder it’s been put off since 2008! – yet one that is extremely important and timely. Perhaps it’s realistic to presume that lawmakers will make smaller changes to the law this year, rather than undertake the full authorization. While not ideal, we’d be happy with some changes if they were in the right areas. For example, 57% of Delaware schools didn’t make AYP last year based on NCLB targets, and that number will increase as the NCLB 100% target approaches in 2014. Updates to ESEA could address this gaping hole in our nation’s accountability system and provide more meaningful goals for our schools.

Now is the time – as schools throughout the nation are moving past traditional boundaries in order to provide every student with an excellent education. I hope this is the year for ESEA.

Sarah Grunewald



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