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Legislative Update: Appropriations, ESEA

House Introduces Continuing Resolution to Fund Government through November

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government running beyond the end of the fiscal year, September 30. The bill, H.J.Res 79, would fund the government at a rate of $1.043 trillion. This figure represents the amount to which Congress and the Obama Administration agreed in the recent debt-ceiling deal. This is a 1.409% cut from the fiscal year 2011 level, and would mean a cut to Department of Education discretionary programs of $962 million. If passed, the CR will expire on midnight, November 18, 2011.

CTE Highlighted in House Hearing on School Accountability

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing, “Education Reforms: Examining the Federal Role in Public School Accountability” which examined the appropriate federal role in accountability, namely the Adequate Yearly Progress requirement in ESEA. During the hearing, Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA), co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, asked the panel how they think Congress should define “college ready.” The witnesses agreed that all students should be prepared for higher level math, science and reading, because many careers today require it. Alberto Carvalho from Miami-Dade Public Schools said that while every student should be prepared for college, it should not be done at the expense of “demonizing” CTE. He went to say that CTE in this country has been wasted and that we as a country need to recognize the value of CTE if we want to remain competitive.

Bills Introduced

Senate Republicans Introduce ESEA Bills

This week, a group of Republican Senators — Sens. Lamar Alexander (TN), Richard Burr (NC), Johnny Isakson (GA), and Mark Kirk (IL) — introduced a series of bills that would reauthorize key pieces of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These bills would address what the Senators view as major problems with the current law by giving states and local school districts greater flexibility to:

• Improve state accountability systems
• Improve teacher and principal professional development programs
• Consolidate federal education programs to give state and local education leaders more freedom in meeting local needs
• Expand the number of charter schools

For more details on each bill, please see this press release from Sen. Alexander.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

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