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Hearing Calls for Innovation and Accountability with Flexibility in ESEA Reauthorization

The House Education and the Workforce Committee met yesterday to hear about and discuss state and local-level innovations, educational output from federal spending, and the role of the federal government in schools today.

Committee members and witnesses broadly discussed areas to include and exclude from the upcoming ESEA reauthorization. Both Chairman John Kline (MN) and Ranking Member George Miller (CA) cited balancing flexibility with accountability as a major concern.

Each of the four witnesses shared insight into education reform at the state and local levels. Andrew Coulson of the CATO Institute presented disturbing statistics revealing that dramatically increased education spending does not equate to improved results. Coulson stated that “We have little to show for the $2 trillion in federal education spending of the past half century… it now costs three times as much to provide essentially the same education as we provided in 1970.”

Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, discussed what his state is doing to increase educational productivity. He described state-level innovations, like value-added growth models, that are showing promise in Indiana. He and the three other witnesses agreed that Congress will need to produce a comprehensive plan to create effective reform.

Ranking Member Miller is confident that ESEA reauthorization will occur this year, and demanded high goals and achievement, aligned with college and career-ready standards, for all students.

You can view an archived webcast of the hearing here.

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