Obama Administration Releases ESEA Blueprint

This weekend, the Obama Administration released its blueprint for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with the goal of raising expectations of students and rewarding schools for producing dramatic gains in student achievement. The blueprint builds on the reforms currently being undertaken through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including:

  • College- and Career-Ready Standards and Assessments
  • Great Teachers and Leaders in Every School
  • Equity and Opportunity for All Students
  • Raise the Bar and Reward Excellence
  • Promote Innovation and Continuous Improvement

Many of these priorities align to the areas of focus in NASDCTEc’s ESEA reauthorization recommendations.

Of particular note in the blueprint is the administration’s plan for funding for assessments in the law, which CTE could be a part of [emphasis added]:

“States will receive formula grants to develop and implement high-quality assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards in English language arts and mathemat­ics that accurately measure student academic achievement and growth, provide feedback to support and improve teaching, and measure school success and progress. States may also use funds to develop or implement high-quality, rigorous statewide assessments in other academic or career and technical subjects, high school course assessments, English language proficiency assessments, and interim or formative assessments. Beginning in 2015, formula funds will be available only to states that are implementing assessments based on college- and career-ready standards that are common to a significant number of states. The program also will support competitive grants to consortia of states, and to other entities working in partnership with states, for research on, or development and improvement of, additional high-quality assessments to be used by multiple states in such areas as science, history, or foreign languages; high school course assessments in academ­ic and career and technical subjects; universally designed assessments; and assessments for English Learners and students with disabilities.”

CTE may also benefit from the proposed grant program to increase access to accelerated learning opportunities  that help students prepare for, or directly provide, college-level work such as dual enrollment and early-college programs.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will testify before both the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday to discuss the blueprint.

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